For all the glitz, glamour and action-packed visuals donning the TV screens in promotion of the Premier Badminton League, the fact remains that the tournament is finding it difficult to find room in an already packed calendar. And things going forward are only going to get tougher for the organisers and the stakeholders involved. With the way BWF has revolutionalised the calendar for 2018, which has been criticised by national coach Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal, holding PBL every year will prove to be a difficult task – a challenge faced by Hockey India League (HIL) as well.

First season of the league (then called Indian Badminton League) was held in 2013, followed by the second edition in 2016, third back in January and now is the turn of the fourth edition that kicks off on December 23 – just five days after the season-ending Dubai World Super Series Finals. The three week long competition will pit eight teams against each other with the introduction of Ahmedabad Smash Masters and North Eastern Warriors. The other teams already in the fray are: Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Delhi Dashers (renamed from Delhi Acers), Hyderabad Hunters and Mumbai Rockets. North East will get the opportunity of having their home crowd to cheer them on from the get go with the tournament starting in Guwahati. It then moves to New Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai and Hyderabad – which will host the final leg followed by the semi-finals and final.

Each day, one team takes on another with five matches to be played in each tie with every match involving three games. Instead of the regular 21 points in each game format, it will be reduced to 15 points each with the player bagging the next point at 14-14, winning the game. Each team will earn one point for a match won, not be docked points for losing, earn two points for a trump match won and be docked one point for trump game lost.

The first tie of the tournament will pit defending champions Chennai Smashers against Awadhe Warriors with a potential PV Sindhu vs Saina Nehwal contest on the first night itself.

When does PBL 2018 begin?

Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2018 begins on December 23 and runs until January 14, 2018. The tournament comprises of 20 league ties (each consisting of five matches) between eight teams.

Which teams will play PBL 2018?

PBL 2018 will see eight teams in action – Ahmedabad Smash Masters, North Eastern Warriors, Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Blasters, Chennai Smashers, Delhi Dashers, Hyderabad Hunters and Mumbai Rockets.

What time does PBL 2018 begin?

The first tie of PBL 2018 will see Chennai Smashers face Awadhe Warriors featuring PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, B Sumeeth Reddy, Chris Addock, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap to name a few. The tie begins at 7 PM IST.

Which channel will air PBL 2018 Live?

The live television broadcasting rights for the PBL 2018 are held by Star Sports. The tournament will be broadcast on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD.