Badminton

BWF India Open Aims to Boost Viewer Records in 2024

Badminton is among India’s most widely played sports, with elite shuttlers representing the country on the global stage. 

As one of just five annual BWF World Tour Super 500 events, the BWF India Open offers Indian fans the chance to see top talents compete on home soil.

This year, the India Open returns with more star power than ever, and they aim to boost viewership for badminton in this cricket-crazy nation. 

Well, with rising young Indian players now joining veteran champions in the mix, the upcoming India Open boasts unprecedented excitement and competitive balance. In this article, we’ll have a closer look at how badminton is a thriving sport and if it’s possible that it can go as big as cricket in India.

How Popular is Badminton In India?

While cricket dominates the attention of many, badminton has also steadily built a strong following in the country. Beyond fans of the national team, a thriving domestic scene sees over 200 million amateur badminton players in India by some estimates.

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India has also produced global icons in badminton like Prakash Padukone in the 1980s and more recently, Saina Nehwal. Star shuttlers like PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen, and HS Prannoy have also further raised the game’s profile through recent continental and world titles. 

Their following among Indian fans reflects badminton’s appeal across demographic groups. The nation’s rising badminton success has also boosted the viewership of major tournaments. 

For example, Star Sports saw 28 million peak viewers tune in for the India vs Indonesia Thomas Cup Final in 2022. So we can say that with strong youth participation and an improving domestic league, India’s badminton future remains bright.

More About the BWF India Open

As a premier international tournament held yearly, the BWF India Open lets Indian fans experience world-class badminton without leaving the country. Introduced in 2008, the tournament has featured legends like Saina Nehwal, Carolina Marin, and Viktor Axelsen.

In 2024, the India Open returned for its 17th edition as a BWF World Tour Super 500 event with over $850,000 in prizes. As one of just five such tournaments yearly, it promises to attract virtually all the world’s best players.

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We can surely expect that more people will be wagering on this year’s edition of the tournament. So, if you’re an avid fan, you might find it easier to get competitive India open betting odds from numerous online bookies.

The year’s venue for the event will be Indira Gandhi Arena in New Delhi. It’s a great place because it boasts a unique award-winning design and seating for 18,000 screaming fans. 

Besides Indians, the India open routinely attracts large contingents from Asian badminton powers like Indonesia, China, Japan, and Malaysia among others. 

Some of the players to watch out for includes Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitisarn, South Korea’s An Se Young, China’s Lian Wei Keng and Wang Chang, Japan’s Arisha Higashino and Yuta Watanabe, India’s Lakshya Sen, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, and Chirag Shetty.

The 2024 BWF India open is set to run from January 9 to December 15, 2024. The format of the events includes 32MS/32WS/32MD/32WD/32XD. 

Will Badminton Thrive In a Cricket Nation?

For decades, cricket has overshadowed every other sport in India’s public attention. However, the rising success of other sports indicates the country is now capable of strongly supporting multiple disciplines. 

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Badminton is perhaps best positioned to challenge cricket’s dominance long-term.

This is driven by stronger competitive depth across the Indian squad, allowing sustained excellence instead of reliance on one star. Cricket also lacks badminton’s universality and accessibility which could drive its popularity.

Badminton’s viewer base is steadily rising among both male and female Indian fans. The launch of a franchised league starting in 2023 will also regularly showcase domestic talent to the masses. Instead of being a flash in the pan, players like Lakshya Sen can lure in more viewers. 

Conclusion

With more Indians playing badminton recreationally and the national team achieving unprecedented success, the sport is poised for record growth in popularity and viewership. 

The 2024 BWF India Open represents the best chance yet for the badminton community to captivate the Indian public and accelerate this promising trajectory.

If the event goes smoothly and Indian players thrive under home support, this India Open may breach new boundaries for attention and fandom. Rather than living under cricket’s shadow forever, perhaps badminton can stand toe-to-toe with it someday as a beloved national pastime.

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