The Indian Badminton League (IBL) on Wednesday announced the name of its second franchise -- the BOP Group, a Real Estate Consultant in India, who bagged the Bangalore team, 'Banga Beats'.
The group is set to mark its debut in sports with the inaugural USD 1-million IBL, an IPL-style sporting event, an initiative of Badminton Association of India with Sporty Solutionz as the Commercial Partner.
"Badminton has brought huge laurels for India in the past. The IBL has the potential to recapture the interest of the masses through achievements of stars like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and others," said Amit Mavi, Managing Director, BOP Group.
"IBL is an ideal opportunity for us to share our passion and zeal for the sport. With the common vision of recognising and nurturing talent amongst the youth, we believe badminton has much to contribute to the league of talented professionals and offer a wider entertainment avenue to sports fans," he added.
Speaking on the association, Ashish Chadha, CEO, Sporty Solutionz, said: "I'm delighted to cement IBL's association with the BOP Group and congratulate them for bagging the Bangalore franchise. BOP has some fantastic plans to promote badminton in India and I'm confident the Group will usher in a new era for the sport with this historic tie-up."
Badminton Association of India, President, Akhilesh Das Gupta said: "Bangalore is one of the hotbeds for nurturing badminton and it surely deserves a great franchise. BOP Group's association with the IBL will go a long way in promoting the sport and inspiring millions of youngsters to take up the sport."
The IBL auction scheduled to be held on July 19 is expected to feature top-50 players in both men's and women's categories. The complete list of players will be announced a week before the auction after the list is first shared with the franchisees as per the IBL's agreement with its partners. Meanwhile, BOP Group appointed Olympian and former National Champion U Vimal Kumar as the Chief Coach of 'Banga Beats', while former International Vijay Lancy has been named as the CEO.
As a player, Kumar won the prestigious French Open in 1983 and 1984 and the Welsh International Open in 1988 and 1991 and also went on to become India's National Chief Coach.
Kumar also represented India at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and was ranked in the Top-20 in the world. BOP has appointed former International Vijay Lancy as the CEO of Banga Beats.
The IBL will get underway with some high-voltage action between PVP's Hyderabad Hotshots and BOP Group's Banga Beats on August 14. The tournament will feature six franchises and will run for 18 days. Each franchise will host a two-day leg and the League will showcase a grand total of 90 matches.
The top four franchises will clash in the semifinals and the winners will meet in the grand final on August 31, which will be played in Mumbai.