Today's article from the Jakarta Post: Organizers aim for entertainment overload Niken Prathivi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 06/26/2011 8:00 AM Entering the “Planet Badminton” that is the 2011 Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series Premier badminton championships at Istora indoor stadium in Senayan sports complex, Central Jakarta, visitors experience more than just watching shuttlers fighting for the 2011 titles and the US$600,000 overall prize money. This year, the Open organizers did their best to ensure that Jakarta’s Super Series event is to badminton what the World Cup is to soccer, and the grand slams are to tennis. Outside of the Istora stadium, there were at least 20 tents selling products, from Bakmi GM noodles to Sour Sally cold yogurt and motorcycle helmets. There were also tents offering interactive games with large touch-screen TVs and other entertainment activities, including face painting, all for free. Meanwhile, some young visitors were seen entering a booth in which there were two touch-screen monitors on which fans could post messages of support for the tournament on Facebook and Twitter. The merchandise stalls were the busiest spots in the complex, with key chains, T-shirts, sweatshirts and decorated hats on sale, with prices ranging from Rp 10,000 (US$1.1) to Rp 150,000. “Sales are good. Today alone we have sold Rp 10 million worth of merchandise since we opened the booth at 12 p.m.,” Jihan, a stall attendant, told The Jakarta Post on Friday afternoon. Various designs of badminton-related T-shirts were the biggest selling items at the stall, added Jihan. Commenting on this year’s Open, Indonesia’s men’s singles player Taufik Hidayat, who lost to Peter Hoeg Gade in Thursday’s quarterfinal round, lauded the overall organization of the event. “The organizers make the event better every year, I must acknowledge that. However, I really must comment on the [Istora] building. I mean, China and Singapore are two countries that have great buildings,” Taufik told a press conference after the match. Taufik said he hoped that one day Indonesia could upgrade the prize-money to match the Korea Superseries Premier’s $1.2 million kitty. Mixed doubles Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth player, who is paired with Fran Kurniawan, had the same advice about the Istora sports complex — which was build in 1962. “The crowd is ‘crazy’ as usual, and how the organizers brighten up the event is great. But next time, we really need a newer building,” said Pia, adding that she adored the stadium where the Singapore Open was held this year. “Other than that, we always have good [media] exposure, especially on live shows on national TV, when we host tournaments. But I think we need more live show coverage when we play oversees,” Pia suggested. The Open’s entertainment project officer Roni Patoroni said the scope of this year’s event was even bigger than last year’s. “Last year we had ‘City of Badminton’ as the theme, and now we have ‘Planet Badminton’,” Roni said Thursday. “We definitely want to make the Open entertaining, without eclipsing badminton as the main event.” The theme of “Planet Badminton”, he said, was chosen by the organizers as a way to make the sport more popular worldwide, Roni said. “This also means that we have to create a bigger theme next year.” Besides entertaining visitors with merchandise, and the Open’s mascot, Dio the clown, the organizers also provided a marching band and live music performances, including a performance featuring Indonesian Idol Judika over the weekend. “We have planned to pack the event with entertainment. We will not call the players’ names in the regular way. Instead, we will do it boxing-style... plus, mention their previous achievements,” Roni said. Elsewhere, the Solibad (Solidarity in Badminton) booth, held an auction of players’ clothes to raise money for charity. “So far, Taufik’s jersey has been the most valuable item. The bids increased to Rp 1 million from Rp 350,000,” Solibad booth attendant Ega told the Post. Roni said the organizers’ approach to the event had been approved and supported by the World Badminton Federation.