Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Badminton – why no commercial breaks?

I was watching Olympic badminton matches. As an MBA student, I also pondered a question: How to promote badminton?

In a badminton match, players swap side after each game is played. They also take this opportunity to drink water and probably wipe off their sweat. The interval lasts just 1 or 2 minutes. Such a short interval has two implications.

First, players do not have ample time to rest, and tired players don’t perform well. Second, corporate sponsors may want to shy away, because the interval is not long enough to air their commercials in a live TV broadcast.

Badminton badly needs sponsorship. But to attract sponsorship, there has to be commercial breaks.

Have you ever wondered why NBA basketball matches have so many time-outs? This is because corporate sponsors like them. OK, maybe there are so many time-outs that they break the flow of the game. For a badminton match, perhaps a 3-minute break after first set and a 5-minute break after second set are just nice. As an audience, I hate time-outs.

A side note:

I believe many Chinese Malaysians were happy to see China winning 3 badminton gold medals out of a total of 5. Unfortunately, dominance of a single nation – any nation – is bad for the sport. (I have to stress the words “any nation” or I would be accused of being anti-China.) Where are the excitements if the games are predictable?


  1. Chinese and Russians have schools that train athletes from a very tender age.

    Think its only a time before they gain greater dominance over sports.

    On a side note, it is interesting to note that China's emergence as the next Sports superpower over USA seems to correlate with China emergence as an uprising economic power.

  2. The older 15-points system was much better. The games lasted longer and has longer breaks and thus more sponsorships. But then they shortened the game play time with the 21-point system. Now a match can end as fast as 30 minutes... so fast, where got excitement?!

    Look at tennis. A match can last up to 5 hours and more.

  3. less than 40mins already kau tim... if got ad some more, we very rugi oh >.<"

  4. I don't watch basketball but I was imagining badminton matches with ads. It would be quite a potong steam leh...

    And "players do not have ample time to rest, and tired players don’t perform well" --> this is the ultimate point of the game as it is the best way to see how fit the athlete is. And that is how Lin Dan managed to win LCW.

  5. Hmm... looks like some of you agree with sponsorship while others don't.

    There are some players with very good skill but lacking stamina. Sometimes I just feel that their loss is a waste...

    Shingo says that China and Russia have schools that train athletes from tender age. This is definitely true China and former Soviet Union and East Germany. Not sure Russia still retains these schools.

    But I think in China only a small fraction of the kids eventually make it to the international stage. The rest just fade away...

  6. Badminton is only good in Asian.. Right?

    Is there news about do not want badminton as one of the sport event in olympics?

  7. keeyit
    Badminton is only good in Asia and Denmark. It will remain an event in Olympics but I guess it deserves more sponsorships. How come tennis players make more money?

  8. In ideal world yes, but we don't live in one.

  9. i would also suggest the other countries to train up many sports person nd should ve enough training schools to improve the sports status of the country

  10. China has a lot of people and a lot of athletes in the games. Only logical they seem to "dominate" a sport. But if each nation produces same amount of athletes, I am sure this domination won't be there. :)

    Sponsorships do not take the form of commercial breaks only.

  11. joseph
    Your suggestion is right, but not every country has the resources, or will (as in the case of India), to do that.

    For countries with lesser population, one option is to import athletes. I will write about this shortly.

    I agree that commercial breaks are not the only form of sponsorship, but they nonetheless is one form.