Bengaluru, June 11: As many as 200 players will go under the hammer when the auction for the inaugural edition of the Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) takes place here on Sunday. The GPBL, which has the blessing of the Karnataka State Badminton Association, has eight franchises – Bengaluru Lions, Mangalore Sharks, Mandya Bulls, Mysore Panthers, Malnad Falcons, Bandipur Tuskers, KGF Wolves and Kodagu Tigers who will be looking to building their teams by choosing their picks.
“We have a very talented pool of players. The field will comprise players only from Karnataka for the first season. After evaluating all the entries with the GPBL panel of coaches, and governing council, we have categorized players into Icon, Tier-1 and Tier-2 categories. Coaches have taken several factors, including but not limited to ranking, performance in tournaments, skill, active training, and Injuries into consideration while grouping players,” said Prashanth Reddy, CEO Bitsport and GPBL Commissioner. Each team comprises of maximum of eight players each and should include one icon player, a minimum of two Tier-1 and Tier-2 players respectively and also a minimum of two female players including icon category.
Each team has a star mentor including Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Ashwini Ponappa, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, HS Prannoy, PV Sindhu and Jwala Gutta. Double Olympic medallist Sindhu who is the mentor of the City team Bengaluru Lions said from Kuala Lumpur that she was keen to see how the franchises choose their teams. “This is the first season and I believe there are a lot of talented players and every team will look to pick a balanced side,” said the lanky shuttler. “To be honest, I do not have any expectations but I will surely guide and mentor my team as much as possible and if we win, it would be a great start to the GPBL,” she added.
Accomplished shuttlers – Mithun Manjunath, Raghu Mariswamy, Daniel Farid, Saneeth Dayanand, Prakash Raj, Sai Pratheek, Janani Ananthkumar and Tanya Hiremath have been accorded the status of Icon players. While the player purse per team will be a maximum of Rs 12 lakh, the base fee for Icon players is Rs 2.5 lakh and the salary cap is Rs 3.5 lakh. The minimum salary for Tier-1 players is fixed at Rs 75,000 while capping it at Rs 2 lakh while Tier-3 players will earn a minimum salary of Rs 25,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000.
A total prize money of Rs 60 lakh is at stake with Rs 24 lakh for the winners while the runners-up will pocket Rs 12 lakh. The semifinalists will get a cheque of Rs 6 lakh apiece while the 5th placed team will receive Rs 4 lakh. The last three placed teams will earn Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively. Apart from the team honours, various individual performances in every game and overall season will be awarded for which a sum of Rs 4 lakh is set aside.