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  1. #1
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    Default Badminton Popularity - Rants

    This subject is probably hashed n' rehashed zillions of times, but was just in mood to rant.

    Why is Badminton not as popular as other worldwide sports...

    I've heard great many opinions on this subject : chicken & the egg theory; too much nationalism; scoring system ill-suited for commercials during broadcasts; not enough popularity among Western nations etc... All valid points.

    To begin, let's start with subject of sports. To me, the most compelling aspect of a sports event is the drama, games decided on inches, 1 final shot, amazing comebacks, the rivalries, and so on, so forth. I think we can all agree that badminton as a sport provides ample enough stage to produce good drama.

    Currently, badminton is becoming more individualized & less nationalized so that they can be better identified with by the viewing public. While I agree with this, I also believe this is not enough. I believe badminton should move toward a status where EVERYTHING has to do with individual players & nothing nationalistic other than international team format competitions.

    Badminton inherently is neither a team nor "national" team sports, just like tenniss. The only team aspect of the game, badminton, is the doubles events and even then it is a team of 2 vs 2. When you hear tennis broadcasts, you don't hear the announcers pit 1 country vs another. Instead they concentrate on 1 player vs another. Even in sports where the games are inherently a team format, you read conscious efforts to market those sports events by selling the drama of struggle among individual players like Shaq vs Iverson, Pedro vs Schilling, etc. GeeWeez! Help these exceptional individual badminton players FIND THEIR WAYS TO INSPIRE others to be like them, to aspire to equal their skills, to compete like them.

    When a product is marketed as 1 country vs another, it's just that- reaching the narrow market of audiences who are interested in those players in just 2 countries. However if the product is 1 individual vs another, then the market broadens to all the people in the world who identify with those 2 players. Don't bind these individual athletes to short-sighted, self-serving agendas of varying national associations

    Speaking of short-sighted, abolish these numerous fiercely "national" programs that is blinded by distrations. Controlling many aspects of their individual players, including what tournaments to play, where they train, how much of the prize money they share, etc., they force their players to become mere representation of their nations & those national programs that produced them.

    The single most important role a national sports program should be the development of a strong grass-roots program. Curtail these entities' ambitions, greed, and whatever else that drives them other than their most important duty: that is to expose and educate their respective countries' population of this great sport.

    What disturbs me most is that the best athletes in my country choose to play basketball, baseball, and football, and not badminton. An obvious reason for this is because there is no money in sports of badminton. Hence no good players playing badminton so no popularity = no money- chicken & the egg dilemma. While I agree with this, I also believe the this circle of failure can be broken with a good strong grass roots program. Produce inspiring coaches & provide them with the means to reach the youth. Promote, market this fun sport, SELL IT!

    Aspiring athletes play sports, and yes most of them also dream of money and fame that comes with success at popular sports. But they also play these sports for the love of the game, especially if they are exposed to the sport at an early age. Have you ever imagined what type of badminton player, let's say, Michael Jordan would have been if he had fallen in love with our sport at an early age and decided to make a career of it? I practically shudder with the excitement of watching such an athlete at highest level of badminton, with his jumping ability, coordination, mad skilz, and that spirit to win... It just takes few... or one, even, that will choose to career at our sport despite the lack of fame & money and pave the path for future growth, to inspire the young badminton players, creating a chain reaction that will ultimately do much much more for badminton than anything else anyone else have ever tried to do before.

    Then, in time, the popularity, TV contracts, big tournaments, etc., they will one day become reality. But what's needed now is a long-term commitment by various badminton associations to look far ahead down the road to educate & expose the youths of their countries to this sport of ours that has so much promise.

    That's my rant. Any opinions or comments are welcome.

  2. #2
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    Default 50% of HK people don't take regular exercise

    Of the 50% that do take exercise in HK, badminton was one of the sports listed as being most popular amongst men and women.

    A couple of years ago, there was an initiative to get more sports into schools here. One of those sports is badminton. As a consequence, there are many, many children playing badminton and joining training courses to improve.
    In fact, there aren't enough qualified badminton coaches for all the schools but this is being rectified.

    The future of badminton is indeed good in HK.

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    Common reactions when I tell my friends that I play badminton is the snicker and laughter since most of them don't consider it as a sport but rather as some backyard recreation instead. This lack of respect for badminton stem from the lack of knowledge to what the game is really about.

    Just an idea, gather up all your badminton friends and badminton net sets, pick a none-windy day and just all go out and setup some games and play. People will walk by, drive by, and human nature of curiosity will set in and people will watch and learn more of the sport and be a little more educated. Talk to people about the sport, solicite to people at work, at school, spread the word.

    Another problem I think is the lack of location to play. It's not like basketball where you can grab a ball and just go to the nearest playground and shoot some hoops. Places around me where badminton are played are $5-$10 each time, that's a lot of money if you go on a regular basis. Besides the cost, some of the places are private clubs that you have to pay members fee and so on. Even though I love the game, I'm not that affluent.

    Back in my high school, it's all about football, baseball, and the other mainstream sports, but we still had badminton in Phys-Ed. The problem is, the Phys-Ed teacher doesn't know a thing about badminton and the sessions when badminton are played became a joke to everyone. Stuff like that really ticks me off.

    Alright, think I'm done with my ranting. Right now, if I encounter a co-worker or a friend that doesn't know about badminton or think it's not a sport, I give them the address of the places I play at and the dates and time. "Badminton is amazing, you just have to see it for yourself."

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    Default chun

    I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Badminton low popularity isn't due to nationalism of the sport where the battle is country vs country. Take at look at world #1 sport, soccer, it is definitely a sport where country is pitted against another country. Each country or national team, has its particular style, strength and weakness.

    IMO, badminton where it is today is because of the (lack of) IBF leadership. If you compare FIFA vs IBF, the strength of soccer in the world scene today is due to superior organization and leadership from the FIFA and its subsidary associations. Even at the local level for example, in my city of 900,000 people, 15 years ago, we didn't have 1 soccer dome. Today, there are many indoor or enclosed soccer domes erected at very high expense and yet, not 1 single dedicated badminton court being constructed during that time even though the cost to built 1 soccer dome can be use to build dozen upon dozen badminton courts. Furthermore, money was even available to build several dedicated concrete skateboarding arena.

    It is no doubt badminton is an exciting and skill demanding sport. It is just that the general public is not aware of it and badminton is not strategically promoted like other sports. If you look deeper how FIFA is run, you will understand why even poor and/or small countries can have strong team in the world cup competition,

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    I live in Miller Place, where badminton isn't considered a backyard sport. In my P.E. classes we had qualified coaches to teach the sport, but it wasn't really needed because most of the students grew up playing the game, or have had some introduction to it in the past. Although what I do find funny, is that I needed to drive about an hour west of MP to get a tube of birdies

    However, outside of my town, I get laughed at when I used to tell people I play badminton. Many people can't get passed badminton as "the backyard game". I have tried to take family members and friends to tournaments and various other badminton events but none of them are interested.

    Chun is right, badminton needs to be a money making sport for the players. Getting endorsed by yonex or whoever is one thing, but getting paid like the top tennis players is a totally different story.

    To get badminton into the mainstream like tennis in the U.S. is to get TV coverage. A few broadcasts of major tournaments on EPSN and other cable sports networks would certainly boost the appeal of the sport. A major marketing campaign by the IBF or even the USBA and racquet makers comparing the real sport of badminton to the backyard game will be great. Although getting Americans to watch a sport that isn't dominated by American athletes is tough, soccer isn't really as big here as it is in other countries. Probably our arrogant attitudes I guess

    MOST IMPORTANT!!! THE INTERNET! More websites explaining the differences would help. Getting video clips and such up there of various matches and some other things as well. badmintoncentral.com help as well. Setting up a website that is connected to this explaining what badminton is, how it is played, different techniques and most importantly how to coach the sport.

    I too am annoyed at the way the sport is treated here. But we as players can change that. The Web is a powerful tool my friends, and could possibly be a major factor in moving badminton into the mainstream.

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    Default Re: chun

    Originally posted by cooler
    I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Badminton low popularity isn't due to nationalism of the sport where the battle is country vs country. Take at look at world #1 sport, soccer, it is definitely a sport where country is pitted against another country. Each country or national team, has its particular style, strength and weakness.

    ...

    It is no doubt badminton is an exciting and skill demanding sport. It is just that the general public is not aware of it and badminton is not strategically promoted like other sports. If you look deeper how FIFA is run, you will understand why even poor and/or small countries can have strong team in the world cup competition,
    First, Soccer's popularity is NOT invested solely in World Cup, albeit it is the most important event due to the fact that the event features the highest level of its sport. Soccer has many many pro & non-pro leagues around the world that is the foundation of its existence & alot of the time, have nothing to do with country vs country.

    And World Cup is inherently an international competition that has very long and illustrius history. Badminton has Thomas & Uber cups for international competition. The negative aspect of "nationalism" I am speaking of is the fact that even in non-internatinoal team competitions, the badminton players are very much associated as a player that represents a certain country rather than a successful individual badminton athlete with character & it seems that most countrys' badminton governing bodies endorse this tradition. Good & great players inspire other good & great players. It is much more difficult to be inspired by a player strongly associated with a foreign country & its team than a player portrayed & characterized effectively as an individual with little or no such foreign associations.

    Second, soccer is a very established sport w/ much tradition in most countries of the world. I believe a better comparison to badminton would be basketball. Around the world, basketball had historically not been very popular (at least not as much as soccer, baseball, etc) until recently. This is due to the fact that BB was limited in its exposure to its highest levels worldwide until recently. If you think of it, NBA had limited worldwide marketing strategy until about 10 years ago. Back then it started having season openers in other countries, its teams & stars were aggressively marketed worldwide, Olympics started featuring NBA players, & if you investigate, NBA has furtthered its efforts to develop basketball worldwide cooperating with FIBA through extensive worldwide grassroots program aiding in creation of demand. Other countrys' pro leagues have sprung up & gained in popularity, worldwide TV coverage has expanded, so on and so on. If you ever hear Stern (NBA president) speaking on topic of globalization of basketball, you'll hear about how well the grassroots programs are doing & how extensive they've become. Then why is NBA doing all this when they're already very popular in America? Merchandizing = money, greed of course. More popular BB is, bigger the market becomes for the league that features the highest level of its sport & NBA's ultimate ambition to expand the league globally, while not presently practical, is something I respect.

    To re-hash, I agree with you when you say badminton is not exposed to the public as well as it should be, and that it is not strategically promoted. I am just ranting that maybe the specific relief to this problem is to aggressively concentrating on teaching & exposing our sport to the future generations to inspire future stars & create future public awareness & demand, ala a strong grassroots program. This works because adults are much more reluctant to the new and kids are much more receptive.

    Alas I believe this should be the primary directive for all worldwide badminton organizations & I blame those that lose sight of this and pouring their efforts at attempting other endeavors that promise instant gratification but has little chance of success.

    While I myself haven't done much to further my sport of badminton in my country, I send a message to USA Badminton's governing body: You who have been elected to further promote our sport in US, invest in our next generation. We will find them receptive, loyal, and successful athletes if we provide them with means of inspiration, accessible playgrounds, and good teaching. I've seen many good things happen in the area where I first began to play badminton, and mostly by people who discovered the love for badminton but with little or no assistance from USA Badminton. Seek these gems out and assist them, and they will not fail our next generation.

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    chun, maybe we were talking about the same thing afterfall. However, i don't think nationalism or individualism was a big factor here in regards to badminton popularity. The popularity of basketall and soccer of today is the result of long term planning effort laid out by the NBA and FIFA (and its various asscociations) decades ago which something i don't see from the IBF. However, i do believe doing the same task as NBA and FIFA by the IBF would be harder. The NBA had narrowed its focus in the north america market at first, and the FIFA had grew its strength from the european/commonwealth countries (correct me if i'm wrong here) at first. What country or regions should IBF focus its effort at first? Surely IBF don't have the resources to promote badminton in every country although it had being noted that badminton is the second most participated sport in the world.

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    Many years ago FIFA started supporting weaker soccer countries - i.e. Africa. I believe they are doing the same in Asia now. FIFA not only supported (and still support) these countries not only technically - providing accredited coaches but also financially. In these countries, the only thing the associations had to do was finding kids for the training sessions. Not surprising that today good football players could be from almost anywhere - not only from S America or Europe.

    Don't think IBF could support financially its member associations like FIFA. But it should be possible to support technically. Wouldn't it be nice for kids/young people be able to attend clinics/classes regularly free or at nominal cost? In my opinion this would be a better way to help promoting the sport - better than trying to have female players wearing special uniforms .

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    Originally posted by viver
    In my opinion this would be a better way to help promoting the sport - better than trying to have female players wearing special uniforms .
    I think every FIFA member country gets 250k USD from FIFA yearly, regardless of country's population. Yes, that's what i have been griping about the IBF all these time, their lack of long term promotion of badminton at the grassroot level. So far their tinkering with the scoring format didn't resulted anything. Now they are tinkering with the uniform. Sigh.

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    There is no way IBF can provide international support at the level FIFA is capable of. However, they can straegically target specific country or countries that can potentially provide the financial or political returns in the future, thus enabling IBF to better support many more countries.

    But can we indeed place the blame solely with IBF?

    Badminton has become an Olympic sport. In countries where the sport is not very popular, for example US where I live, this is a major boon. The financial and political gains to our sport's governing body cannot be ignored.

    With this recently-found additional resources to our badminton organizations in mind, review what they have done to enhance the promotion of our sport in your countries my fellow players. It seems to me, at least in my country, everything has been stagnant for the last 20+ years. Same tournaments, same open gyms without much support, still no comprehensive grassroots program for the prep schools, same level of awareness. They're so busy maintaining the status quo, there's no innovation toward progress.

    Sure, with more resources, they are able to better support their top players, maybe have bit bigger tournaments, hire more expensive coaches. But there still is no inkling of recognition from the actions of USA badminton, that the future fans, players and money is attending prep schools right now.

    To those of us in US, a simple test will show the how effective USA Badminton is at assuring growth of badminton in our country: Think of 10-20 people that you personally know from playing badminton at clubs or whatever, and ask yourself how many of those people are players with first badminton experience in US & how many of them are immigrants who have been exposed to our sport before they came to US.

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    Soccer is a TEAM sport, badminton is an INDIVIDUAL sport. Comparisons between the 2 are not necessarily valid. One should look at other individual sports, such as tennis, golf, ice skating.... to draw a parallel. In these sports, even though there are team events, the individual athlete are promoted. Their birthplaces are only incidental.


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    I feel some of Padukone's comments are weak and self contradicting
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    June 28, 2007 17:56 PM
    Badminton Has Stagnated, Says Padukone

    By P.Vijian

    BANGALORE, June 28 (Bernama) -- Former All-England and World Champion Prakash Padukone believes badminton has stagnated compared to other sports in terms of popularity.

    "We need to grow a little faster. The game has stagnated to some extent compared to some other sports like golf or tennis that have really grown by leaps and bounds in terms of prize money.

    "I feel a little more money is needed. More sponsorship and better marketing of the game will help the sport to a large extent and more players will take part," Padukone, who won the All-England singles title in 1980, told Bernama in an interview at his Bangalore-based Badminton Academy which he established after retiring from the sport in 1989.

    The 52-year-old former player, known for his cool and stylish play on court, also said that power play has replaced technique-oriented play in badminton, which to some degree has removed the excitement on the courts.

    "In fact, power play has become a norm in most sports, whether it is tennis, football or table tennis. It is the same in badminton, not much scope for technique left, it's all strength and power compared to flair.

    "During our time, we had players with different styles. Each player had his own style. The top eight players had eight different styles. So, it was one style competing against another style. Now, if you see one player, you probably have seen them all," said Padukone.

    Commenting on the new points system introduced by the International Badminton Federation (IBF), now known as the Badminton World Federation (BWF), he said the new format had both advantages and disadvantages.

    Badminton is now played on a 21-point system, having switched from the 15-point format last year.

    "There are both plus and minus points. The plus point is that the underdogs (players) have a realistic chance of making it, better chance for unseeded players to beat seeded players. It is very difficult for any player to be consistent and win all the time as we were doing during our time.

    "The flip side is that you don't see too many stars because every tournament is won by different players. So, you don't see two or three players who rule the sport for long duration, like tennis star Roger Federer or Tiger Woods in golf," he said.

    Due to the new scoring pattern, Padukone said, there was a general perception that there won't be a particular star dominating badminton, which he felt was a sticky point in the sport.

    "People don't know who is the number one. In any sport, we need one or two stars or idols to take the game to a higher level," he said, adding however that the game had become more exciting for spectators because of more upsets in major tournaments.

    Padukone played alongside the world's best, like Denmark's Morten Frost, China's Han Jian, Misbun Sidek of Malaysia and Indonesia's Liem Swie King. In 1980, he swept the Danish Open and Swedish Open in a row before going on to wrest the prestigious All-England title.

    The following year, Padukone, who was at the peak of his colourful career, won the first Alba World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

    Asked for the key to becoming a world-class badminton player, Padukone said it was a combination of character, commitment and sacrifices.

    "For one to stay at the top, one needs to be focused and make a lot of sacrifices. Always think that there is scope for improvement, even if you are number one.

    "Always believe you have never reached your peak. The moment you feel satisfied, you tend to become complacent and your form takes a dip," said the former champion whose academy churns out players for the Indian national team.

    -- BERNAMA

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    i think his thesis on power play dominance taking over is right, but it would be totally wrong to say that flair and technique is less important. In addition, there are still many diff playing styles which varies from player to player. Or rather i'll put it this way. Every player has an arsenal of tricks. And they select those to be used against another player.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DivingBirdie View Post
    i think his thesis on power play dominance taking over is right, but it would be totally wrong to say that flair and technique is less important. In addition, there are still many diff playing styles which varies from player to player. Or rather i'll put it this way. Every player has an arsenal of tricks. And they select those to be used against another player.
    Nod. If badminton is trending towarod more power, how come the singles players are still a skinny bunch? LOok at the current favorites, LD, LCW and TH, they surely don't have the muscle tones like tennis players I think Padukone is losing it

    Few days later, gopichand see it differently
    -------------------------------------------
    Bright future for badminton in India: Gopichand
    Chennai, July 1 (UNI) Counting on the impressive performance of both men and women shuttler, Indian badminton coach P Gopichand today said the game had a bright future in the country.

    Launching an exclusive YONEX showroom here, he said players like Aditya Elango, Aditya Prakash, Prateep Patil and Abimanyu Singh in the men's section and Aditee, Thulasi and Sikki in the women's section boost the image of Indian badminton.

    He said a tough task lay before him in preparing the Indian team for the coming World Junior and Commonwealth Championship, to be held in New Delhi in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

    An 18-member Indian contingent, comprising men and women, would leave for the Philippines tonight to participate in the Philippines Open, he added
    Last edited by cooler; 07-01-2007 at 07:18 PM.

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