The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships has been selected by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as one of only three top tier tournaments on its new six-level world tour, starting from 2018.
With world class history and heritage dating back to 1898, the YONEX All England is already held in the highest esteem – as the oldest and one of the most prestigious badminton events in the world – by the world’s best players and fans.
It has been one of only five Premier events on the current World Superseries circuit but will see its position in the global badminton calendar escalated to even greater heights from next year after a successful bid by Badminton England.
Today’s announcement, made in Kuala Lumpur, sees the YONEX All England join world class tournaments in China and Indonesia at the very top of a brand new tournament structure that features six new tiers and an estimated 37 events annually up to 2021.
The news comes just two weeks after the 107th edition of the YONEX All England saw record crowds sell out the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham – home of the Championships for the past 23 years.
The Championships also drew a worldwide television audience of over 168 million, including BBC broadcast in the UK for the first time in over 10 years.
Adrian Christy, CEO of event organisers Badminton England, said: “We are all thrilled that the YONEX All England will play such a leading role in the exciting journey for our sport that the BWF has announced on Sunday.
“I am so proud of the staff, the volunteers, court officials and incredible fans who make the YONEX All England such a special event and I would like to thank the many partners, particularly long standing title sponsors Yonex, without whom the hosting of these amazing Championships to the highest standard that we achieve year on year could not happen.
“The new world tour is going to be so exciting for the world of badminton and is a clear statement of the intent to further grow our great sport across the globe. It is an absolute privilege that Badminton England and the YONEX All England will be among those at the forefront.
“The jewel in Badminton England’s crown is now a jewel in the BWF’s new world tour and the UK can be proud that the Yonex All England will sit among the great sporting events in this country.
The unveiling of a new tournament structure, with million-dollar prize money in its top four events – including the YONEX All England – has been called an ‘exciting wind of change’ by the Badminton World Federation.
China, Denmark, France, Japan and Malaysia will host Level 3 tournaments while Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will stage Level 4 events. Australia, Chinese Taipei, Germany, India, Korea, Macau, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and USA have been awarded Level 5 events. A Level 6 tier will be an open category, where BWF member associations can apply for sanction.
It is expected that all six will have distinct names to ensure differentiation among them; highlighting the top events, while maintaining a connection.
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said: “Our tournaments have grown in stature and appeal significantly in recent years and, with each cycle, we evaluate progress and assess how we can improve our events.”
“We have determined the time is right for badminton to soar even higher and our key goals are to showcase our sport at a high level of presentation and competitiveness, to increase television coverage for the sport and to increase the star quality and popularity of the top players globally through increased television coverage.”