Badminton: Indian Badminton League kicks off without Chinese superstars like Lin Dan

India's Jwala Gutta of Delhi Smashers (from left), India's Saina Nehwal of Hyderabad Hotshots, Germany's Mark Zweibler of Mumbai Masters, Denmark's Carsten Mogensen of Banga Beats and India's Ashwini Ponappa of Pune Pistons pose with the IBL Trophy d
India's Jwala Gutta of Delhi Smashers (from left), India's Saina Nehwal of Hyderabad Hotshots, Germany's Mark Zweibler of Mumbai Masters, Denmark's Carsten Mogensen of Banga Beats and India's Ashwini Ponappa of Pune Pistons pose with the IBL Trophy during a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013. Indian organisers hope the absence of China's superstars will not take the shine off a new US$1 million (S$1.3 million) badminton league, which players and officials believe will grow the game and help foster future Olympic medallists. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian organisers hope the absence of China's superstars will not take the shine off a new US$1 million (S$1.3 million) badminton league, which players and officials believe will grow the game and help foster future Olympic medallists.

The franchise-based Indian Badminton League kicks off in New Delhi on Wednesday and organisers hope it will generate the same kind of commercial success enjoyed by the country's money-spinning Twenty20 cricket competition, the Indian Premier League.

The six-team badminton league held a player auction last month, and world No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia was bought by the Mumbai franchise for US$135,000, while Pune bought women's world No.2 Juliane Schenk of Germany for US$90,000.

Notable absentees were Chinee shuttlers such as double Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan, men's world No.2 Chen Long and women's world No.1 Li Xuerui.