BT Sport will be the new home of the AJ Bell National Badminton League after securing the TV broadcast rights for the third season of the UK’s first ever professional league.
Top class team badminton will join the likes of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League football, MotoGP and Aviva Premiership Rugby on BT Sport after a new TV deal was struck with Badminton England to broadcast seven match-night fixtures plus the Championship Final in the AJ Bell NBL 2016/17 season.
Since its launch in October 2014, the AJ Bell NBL has drawn a new audience into the Olympic sport. Over 1.1 million UK households have tuned in to watch the innovative ‘Power-9’ match-play format which includes double point PowerPlays, time-outs, tie-breaks and a shortened scoring format.
BT Sport will be the official broadcaster for the 2016/17 season at an important phase in the league’s development with new teams set to compete and exciting new players arriving from Europe and Asia to join forces with the best of British talent.
Thanks to an Olympic bronze medal for Team GB stars Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis in Rio, badminton is enjoying a further surge in popularity with the British public and the return of the AJ Bell National Badminton League to TV screens will strengthen this.
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive of Badminton England who launched the AJ Bell NBL, said: “We are delighted to welcome BT Sport to badminton where the AJ Bell NBL will be the first time the broadcaster has worked with our sport – these are exciting times.
“We have seen what BT Sport has achieved with many other sports where there is a clear focus on maximizing fan engagement and innovation through their presentation. This is a fantastic fit with the AJ Bell NBL and is very much aligned to the future plans for English badminton.
“Having a broadcaster showing commitment to the league is essential as we look to grow the profile of the league and that of the seven franchise teams who put on a show every match-week both for the TV audience and the sell out crowds live.”
The new partnership with BT Sport gives TV viewers the chance to watch Team GB badminton stars, Rio 2016 Olympians, national champions and some of the sport’s legendary characters perform on a regular basis.
Extended highlights of the first fixture in the 2016/17 AJ Bell National Badminton League will be shown on Thursday 27 October at 8pm on BT Sport 2. The top class action comes from Surrey Sports Park in Guildford as Surrey Smashers face last season’s runners up, Loughborough Lightning.
The AJ Bell NBL features seven franchise teams – Loughborough Lightning, Surrey Smashers, Team Derby, University of Nottingham Badminton, Suffolk Saxons, Bristol Jets and reigning champions, Birmingham Lions – competing in 21 regular season fixtures between October and February 2017.
Josh Smith, Commercial Director, BT Sport said: “We are delighted to be part of the AJ Bell NBL and look forward to working with Badminton England and the league to set new standards in the way badminton in televised.
Our customers can look forward to a fast, exciting sport that will be full of drama on BT Sport.”
Report courtesy of Badminton England