The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has awarded hosting rights for its 2018 and 2019 World Championships to Nanjing and Basel, respectively, while it has also unveiled a major overhaul to its event structure.
The BWF assigned hosting rights to four of its major events in 2018 and 2019 on Saturday. Next year will see the World Championships held in the Chinese city of Nanjing, while the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals will also take place in Asia.
Bangkok has become the first Thai city to win a bid for a BWF major event by landing the 2018 Thomas & Uber Cup Finals ahead of a rival offer from New Delhi, India. Meanwhile, the Swiss city of Basel has secured the 2019 World Championships after fending off competition from Tokyo. The Japanese capital was bidding to stage the event ahead of hosting the 2020 summer Olympic Games.
China also landed the other major event assigned by the BWF, with Nanning to stage the 2019 Sudirman Cup. “We received some high-quality bids and we have assessed what is best for badminton on various levels as we seek to elevate our sport globally,” BWF president Poul-Erik Høyer said.
“Our major events showcase the best of badminton, with all of our elite athletes competing. We are excited at the prospect of breaking new ground by going to cities that have not had the honour of hosting our major events before. This is significant for the development of our sport.”
Meanwhile, the BWF has announced a new tournament structure, with million-dollar prize money in its top four events. Featuring six levels, the series which starts next year and runs until 2021 will boast one event in Level One – the signature, season finale with $1.5m (€1.42m) on offer. Level Two will have three, $1m events to be held in China, England and Indonesia.
Five events have been chosen in Level Three ($700,000 prize money); seven for Level Four ($350,000); and 11 for Level Five ($150,000). The BWF said prize money will increase across the board for the last two years of the new cycle, while it will separately be seeking a host for the end-of-season finale.
China, Denmark, France, Japan and Malaysia will host Level Three tournaments while Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will stage Level Four events. Australia, Chinese Taipei, Germany, India, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and USA have been awarded Level Five events.
Høyer added: “We have determined the time is right for badminton to soar even higher and our key goals are to showcase our sport at a high level of presentation and competitiveness, to increase television coverage for the sport and to increase the star quality and popularity of the top players globally through increased television coverage.”
The BWF said the more-unified structure will strengthen brand awareness, helping to increase exposure and commercial revenues. The tour will involve an estimated 37 events, including Level Six which will be an open category, where BWF member associations can apply for sanction.