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June 12, 2019 5 min read 2 Comments

I love badminton.

The speed and power of the top players. How quick their reactions are, their skills, gameplay and strategy in high-pressure situations. I love the defensive play where it looks like the point is over but somehow, the shuttle keeps coming back. It’s truly something that’s amazing and has my legs and body twitching when I’m watching! And I know for sure that many others feel the same way.

Hans HK Vittinghus Fan TV Television Camera Volant Wear Badminton Activewear Cool Fashion Kento Momota Japan Badminton Player Best World Champion Performance Active Wear Lin Dan Lee Chong Wei Srikanth Kidambi Viktor Axelsen Clothing BWF Singles Champion

Unfortunately, people outside of badminton don’t appreciate all of these things as much as we do. And it’s not their fault. They have no idea what it takes for the players to cover the court while being under immense pressure and a shuttle coming to them at almost 400kph. Nor how hard it is to play certain shots from extremely difficult positions on the court. And finally, they just don’t know badminton like they do other sports such as tennis, football (soccer), golf or cricket. 

Even if someone’s non-preferred sport isn’t a mainstream sport, they still understand the general fundamentals of it. For example, I rarely play tennis other than socially on the odd occasion. But because of its prominence in Australia (and the world), I understand how great the best players are, the rules of the sport and many of the top players.

But take a person who’s the opposite: someone who plays tennis regularly and plays badminton just on the odd social occasion. I can almost guarantee that their knowledge of the sport of badminton - the rules, the skills, the game - will be far below my knowledge of tennis as a sport.

Why is this?

Badminton is the second-most commonly played sport in the world. And it’s a part of the sports programs in many schools. But despite this, it’s still foreign to many people.

One big reason for this, I believe, is the appearance of badminton on TV. For me, it’s fantastic. I know how hard it is to cover the court, how much speed, exertion and power it takes. But to someone who doesn’t have much of a background in badminton, when broadcast to TV (or YouTube), the sport does not look as magnificent as I see it.

The prize money is also far less than in other sports. See below for the top earnings for players in 2018 and compare this to tennis, where the Champion of Wimbledon makes GBP 2.25 million (approx. USD 2.86 million). 

Money Fan TV Television Camera Volant Wear Badminton Activewear Cool Fashion Kento Momota Japan Badminton Player Best World Champion Performance Active Wear Lin Dan Lee Chong Wei Srikanth Kidambi Viktor Axelsen Clothing BWF Singles Champion

In general, here are some of the problems that make badminton an inferior spectator sport compared to tennis. Why tennis? Because tennis is also a racket sport and one of the most popular sports in Western countries. Please know that I don’t have anything against tennis, and I thoroughly enjoy watching and playing it also!

  • The badminton court is smaller, therefore it doesn’t look like the player needs to move very far to reach the shuttle compared to when a tennis player is stretching to reach the ball. The smaller court also means that it’s harder for spectator seating because not as many people can “fit” around a court to view it.
  • The TV angle is a bird’s eye view so that the entire court can be captured. As many of the movements in badminton are front-to-back and side-to-side, the TV doesn’t capture how far backwards and forwards players have to lunge and reach to play their shots. Compare this to tennis, where most movement is side-to-side and the court is big - it looks like the player is covering much more distance during the rallies, even when we know that badminton players cover more distance (based on various studies).
  • It is difficult to use another camera view (other than the bird’s eye) because the shuttle won’t be in view the whole time - the shots in badminton vary from very low net shots and drives, to clear and lift shots which are very high. Compared to tennis, where the shots are all generally around the same height - so it’s easier to capture the ball from a range of different camera angles.
  • There’s the perception that the shuttle flies very slowly, especially on TV. Clear and lift shots look like they hang in the air forever, even though they’re still flying extremely fast and the player needs to move quickly to retrieve the shots. Even smashes still look slower than tennis serves, especially on - TV although they’re flying 1.5-2 times faster than a tennis ball!
  • Badminton matches are shorter than in tennis therefore it somehow makes badminton athletes look less fit that tennis players. People don’t realise the intensity that badminton is played at, and the amount of time tennis players get to “rest” between first and second serves, points, games and sets. Plus the fact that tennis players can towel down after every single point, where in badminton, you’re only allowed to towel off a few times per set at a maximum!
  • Tennis looks far more glamorous than badminton. The players get drink fridges on the sides of the court, with umbrellas, special seating and ball-boys/girls to carry their towels to them.
  • The prize money and number of sponsors in badminton is far less than in tennis. Fewer sponsors means less prize money and less TV time. There’s less incentive for companies to buy advertising space because there’s not as much media coverage. Less TV time results in fewer sponsors. Fewer sponsors means less prize money. And it becomes a vicious cycle.
  • The physique of badminton players is leaner and less “muscular” as tennis players, although they are just as explosive and powerful. Many badminton players are also shorter in height than tennis players. Although this doesn’t necessarily have any impact on a player’s ability to be exceptional at the sport, this does have an impact on how spectators view the sport both on TV and in real life.
  • The fashion and outfits of tennis players is far more stylish and aesthetic than badminton attire. With style and aesthetics comes playability and performance - which can have an impact on a player’s performance. Sponsors are much more attracted to ‘better looking’ sports also, which attract money money, TV time and prestige.

So, after outlining all of these issues, what’s the solution?

Whilst the technology of filming and broadcasting badminton needs to be improved, the way thatVolant Wear strives to make an impact is to make badminton a more recognised and popular sport, so that people know what the sport is about.

If only everyone knew and understood what it takes to be an exceptional badminton player, when they watch it on TV or as a live spectator, their knowledge in the sport will help them appreciate it as much as we do.

Fan TV Television Camera Volant Wear Badminton Activewear Cool Fashion Kento Momota Japan Badminton Player Best World Champion Performance Active Wear Lin Dan Lee Chong Wei Srikanth Kidambi Viktor Axelsen Clothing BWF Singles Champion

Volant Wear is also targeting badminton fashion: to bring aesthetics, comfort and performance to badminton wear so that players feel and look great.

When badminton looks more fashionable and stylish, and players wear their gear with pride and confidence on and off the court, others will be naturally drawn to the sport. This will lead to an increase in participation and awareness and will improve the badminton IQ of people worldwide.

Do you have a different opinion? Please let us know how you think we can make our sport even better!

We'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, tips and tricks so please feel free to comment below. If you would like us to write about something in particular, please let us know!

Main image source: Pexels

Body image source 1: Victor

Body image source 2: Badzine

Body image source 3: The Big Lead

Jeffrey Tho
Jeffrey Tho

Jeff is an ex-international badminton player who represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games (twice as a player & once as a coach), World Championships, All England Championships and multiple Thomas and Sudirman Cups. He was the Australian National Coach, Senior State Head Coach and is the co-founder of Volant badminton & The Badminton Podcast. Jeff is extremely passionate about building the worldwide badminton community & showing the world how incredible our sport really is.

2 Responses


June 20, 2021

Thanks for your input Manoj and I certainly agree. Hopefully the BWF will be able to bring these special cameras and various angles into the sport in the future. We’ll have videos coming up soon that show-case some deceptive shots so please look out for them if you’re interested. :)

Manoj Vaz
Manoj Vaz

June 20, 2021

The biggest drawback in televised badminton is that much of the skill and deception in badminton is in the wrists which is not captured by the bird’s eye camera. Special cameras which focuses on the wrist movement in slow motion need to be added.

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