Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton World Federation (BWF) unveiled on Sunday that the organization will launch a new tournament structure which feature six different levels with estimated of 37 total tournaments.
BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen said the structure was aimed to increase the exposure and brand awareness of badminton while boosting commercial revenue for the sport.
“We believe it is the right time to make badminton even more popular. We would like to showcase our sport at a high level of presentation and competitiveness,” said Hoyer Larsen.
“We also want to increase television coverage for the sport and to increase the star quality and popularity of the top players globally through increased television coverage,” added Hoyer Larsen.
Under the new structure, Level 1 events which includes the season finale, will offer a whooping US$1.5 million (RM6.656 million) prize money.
Meanwhile, Level 2 events that will be held in China, England, and Indonesia offer US$1 million (RM4.437 million) in prize money.
5 countries including Malaysia, China, Denmark, France and Japan will host Level 3 tournaments where each event will offer total prize money of US$700,000 (RM3.106 million).
Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will stage Level 4 events that provide total prize money of US$350,000/RM1.553 million each.
Lastly, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, India, South Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and also the United States have been granted the rights to host Level 5 tournaments, while Level 6 will be open category tournaments.
Badminton has struggled to gain popularity in recent years, losing out to more glamorous sports such as NBA basketball, FIFA (football) and tennis.
BWF have tried several approaches aimed at boosting the popularity of badminton in the last 10 years, and the dumbest move was trying to ‘sex up’ the sport’s image by asking female players to wear skirts during matches. The controversial proposal was finally ditched ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.