As many as 200 players will go under the hammer when the auction for the inaugural edition of the Grand Prix Badminton League (GPBL) takes place on Sunday. The GPBL has eight franchises — Bengaluru Lions, Mangalore Sharks, Mandya Bulls, Mysore Panthers, Malnad Falcons, Bandipur Tuskers, KGF Wolves and Kodagu Tigers. Each team comprises of maximum of eight players each and should include one icon player, a minimum of two Tier-1 and Tier-2 players respectively and also a minimum of two female players including icon category.
Each team has a star mentor including Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth, Ashwini Ponappa, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, HS Prannoy, PV Sindhu and Jwala Gutta. “This is the first season and I believe there are a lot of talented players and every team will look to pick a balanced side,” said double Olympic medallist Sindhu, who is the mentor of Bengaluru Lions.
“To be honest, I do not have any expectations but I will surely guide and mentor my team as much as possible and if we win, it would be a great start to the GPBL.” Mithun Manjunath, Raghu Mariswamy, Daniel Farid, Saneeth Dayanand, Prakash Raj, Sai Pratheek, Janani Ananthkumar and Tanya Hiremath have been accorded the status of Icon players.
While the player purse per team will be a maximum of Rs 12 lakh, the base fee for Icon players is Rs 2.5 lakh and the salary cap is Rs 3.5 lakh. The minimum salary for Tier-1 players is fixed at Rs 75,000 while capping it at Rs 2 lakh. The Tier-3 players will earn a minimum salary of Rs 25,000 and a maximum of Rs 50,000.
A total prize money of Rs 60 lakh is at stake with Rs 24 lakh for the winners, while the runners-up will pocket Rs 12 lakh. The semifinalists will get a cheque of Rs 6 lakh apiece, while the 5th placed team will receive Rs 4 lakh. The last three placed teams will earn Rs 3 lakh, Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.