The third edition of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) starts Saturday, with P.V. Sindhu’s Chennai Smashers taking on Saina Nehwal’s Awadhe Warriors in Guwahati.

And even though Badminton Association of India president Himanta Biswa Sarma told PTI that the league is likely to make a profit only after the fifth year, it does seem to have grown in popularity.

Eight teams, including newcomers Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors, will be fighting for prize money of Rs6 crore over the 23 days till 14 January across five venues—Guwahati, Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad. This edition features 10 Olympic medallists, including the men’s No.1, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen (Bengaluru Blasters), and women’s No.1, Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-Ying (Ahmedabad Smash Masters).

“This is going to be an exciting edition," says Atul Pandey, managing director of sports management firm Sportzlive. “It’s longer, with eight teams in the fray, and virtually all the best players have signed up too, which makes it truly world league," he added.

The matches will be telecast on Star Sports network and streamed on HotStar.

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