The Badminton World Federation (BWF) today announced the countries that have entered bids for the next phase of the BWF World Superseries tournaments, the 2014-2017 period. In a surprise turn of events – so to speak – Korea, which since last year has hosted badminton’s two most lucrative tournaments ever, has bid for one of the seven regular Superseries events, rather than the Superseries Premier tier.
Seven member associations are vying to host the five Superseries Premier events. They are China, Denmark, Indonesia, and England – which have had Premier tournaments since last year – and also Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. There are another eight bids, each of which is aiming only for one the remaining seven events and they are from China, Chinese Taipei, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea and Thailand.
Australia is the only bidder for the Premier echelon that has yet to host a Superseries tournament. Like Chinese Taipei and Thailand, its current Open tournament is a Grand Prix Gold-level event. The BWF press release indicates that Canada, Switzerland and the USA had expressed interest but did not proceed with bids, meaning that Australia remains the only possibility of a Superseries outside of Asia or Europe until 2018.
The BWF has also increased its minimum prize money requirement. The Premier events, whose minimum was US$350,000 for the first two years and will increase to $US400,000 for 2013, will have a minimum total prize money of US$500,000 in 2014 and 2015, rising to $550,000 and $600,000 over the next two years. The other events, for which the minimum has stood at US$200,000 since the Superseries began in 2007, will have to offer at least US$250,000 in 2014, and the minimum will increase by $25,000 annually until 2017, when the minimum will have reached US$325,000.
“The bidding for these 12 events has been extremely competitive and those countries and cities which are selected will have met some high criteria because we are looking to raise the bar in a number of ways,” the BWF press release quotes its Chief Operating Officer Thomas Lund as saying. “Badminton as a sporting and entertainment spectacle is improving each year and, as a result, is generating more interest and excitement worldwide. The fact that so many countries and cities now want to be part of BWF’s elite circuit is testament to this fact.
“We are currently evaluating the bids against the criteria and we will announce the host cities at our next Council meeting in November. It is going to be tough to exclude any of these Member Associations but, at the end of the process, we are confident we will have chosen the very best cities in which to showcase badminton.”
It is unclear what will happen to badminton’s only million-dollar event, however. One member of the Badminton Korea Association executive was quoted in early 2011 as saying that the Korea Open purse of 1.2 million had been ponied up to ensure Korea would have one of the expected three or four Premier events and that the bid would have been for less money had they known there would be five Premier events. Still, the current event calendar has many events that offer far more than the minimum prize money for the event level they have been awarded.
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