Philippines, Sports, television

Why GMA 7 Lacks a Sports Division?


GMA 7 is way behind its competitors in producing high-end sports programming. The Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero fight co-produced with Solar Sports doesn’t help its cause. (Screenshot courtesy of GMA Network)


For the past few days GMA 7 has been airing program advisories regarding the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero fight for Sunday. The fight, according to the 30-second teaser, is a co-production of GMA 7 and Solar Entertainment. In a truest sense, GMA 7 did not promote the fight by themselves, but rather through a long-term co-production agreement with Solar that included the Manny Pacquiao fights.

The truth is, there is no such thing as ‘GMA Sports’ or a ‘GMA Sports Division’ for any matter. They were there just to collaborate instead of going solo. In fact, in terms of promoting sports programming, GMA 7 is way behind its competitors ABS-CBN and TV5. Currently ABS-CBN Sports produces the NBA games, the UAAP, Top Rank and ALA boxing, and soccer events such as the Philippine Azkals and UEFA Champions League. In addition, its sports cable network Balls currently air Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts and various other sports such as golf and tennis. Sports5 produces the PBA games, the NCAA, the PXC, the Smart Gilas team events, and the United Football League, with its cable sports network Hyper airing various other sports events. And GMA 7? Aside from the Pacquiao and Mayweather fights, their only known brand of sports programming is the Shakey’s V-League, currently airing on sister network GMA News TV, as well as its two Sunday programs Sports Pilipinas and All-Sports; the latter contrary to its name airs mostly boxing bouts.

Back in the 1980s, when the Philippines was still recovering from the Ferdinand Marcos regime, GMA 7 was known to air the NBA and NFL games on a delayed basis. During the mid-1990s, their defunct UHF channel Citynet 27 aired NBA games on weekends. At the time, GMA 7 was the network of choice for sports aficionados, with the exception of PBA games aired on PTV-4 and later IBC-13.

Then came ABS-CBN and Studio 23, who started the ABS-CBN Sports Division by founding the defunct MBA, a professional sports league different from the PBA in terms of regional teams and nationwide reach. After the MBA folded, they acquired the rights to air the UAAP, which they still have today. From that point, ABS-CBN Sports grew and prospered, bolstered by the popularity of the UAAP, the Philippine Azkals, and the sport of boxing. In 2008, Balls Channel was established, and acquired the rights to air UFC events a few months later.

Not to be outdone, TV5 started to make a serious bid towards establishing their own sports department. Back when they were ABC-5, they acquired the rights to air PBA games in 2004, and continued to air its games until 2008. After a three-year rebuilding program where the network was acquired by Manny Pangilinan and renamed TV5, the network’s sports arm was reestablished as Sports5. They reacquired the rights for PBA games from Solar Entertainment in 2011, and then added the UFL. They then acquired the rights to air the NCAA from ABS-CBN in June 2012. Also that year, their cable sports network Hyper started airing, and made its grand introduction with the blow-by-blow coverage of the London Olympics. Even though the AKTV block on IBC-13 is about to end in May 2013, Sports5 remains committed to the PBA and is looking to air its games on TV5 soon.

With its competitors establishing their own sports arm, GMA 7 tried in vain to put up a bid for the airing of  various sports leagues such as the PBA and UAAP. Unfortunately the lack of a serious bidder and revenue issues hurt GMA 7. So where did they go? They decided to focus on the ‘Pambansang Kamao‘, Manny Pacquiao. Through a co-production agreement with Solar Sports, the network began to air delayed and commercial-infested coverage of Pacquiao fights in 2007, and continues to do so today. They even went as far as signing Pacquiao as a talent and gave him programs such as ‘Manny Many Prizes’ and ‘Show Me Da Manny’. Unfortunately, GMA’s decision came back to haunt PacMan, as he lost via knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in his recent fight. And aside from that, nothing else came from the mouths of GMA management.

So where does GMA 7 go in terms of sports development? As of now, their only known sports programming are Manny Pacquiao fights, the Shakey’s V-League, and its Sports Pilipinas and All-Sports programs on News TV. They are way behind the competition in terms of developing and promoting future athletes. They are too focused towards spending lavishly on their teleseryes and films, along with crafting new programs in desperation against their rivals’ more popular counterparts. Unless they are serious in putting up a bid to air a particular league or promotion in the near future, GMA 7 will always be at the bottom of the pack in terms of bringing quality sports programming to the Filipino.


49 thoughts on “Why GMA 7 Lacks a Sports Division?

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    • I agree about the budgetary constraints. They’re not owned by a conglomerate like ABS-CBN or TV5; that is why they’re way behind. Plus they use too much money on their teleseryes alone.

      • James Ty III says:

        Hello, bud! I also get turned off by GMA’s Tagalized movies. ABS-CBN is the better Sunday programming choice. Many shows that GMA pitted against Gandang Gabi Vice got axed including Manny Pacquiao’s advice show. Even Show me da Manny and Andres de Saya flopped against Vice’s show.

      • When ABS-CBN airs movies on Sunday’s Best, it’s always in its original dub, unless it’s not an American film in which a Filipino dub is needed. And that program airs more concerts and award events than GMA’s SNBO.

  3. James Ty III says:

    Like what I posted, ABS-CBN will air a Cheche Lazaro docu this Sunday and the Star Awards for Music on October 20. I agree with you that it’s a good move on ABS-CBN not to dub its movies in Tagalog.

    Before ABS started airing the FPJ movies, the network aired Disney movies in ENGLISH.

    • The FPJ films will only be temporary, as they are expected to air NBA games on a delayed basis once the season starts, although I doubt if they will do that again after a lot of complaints from its viewers.

  4. James Ty III says:

    ABS has a contract to air all FPJ movies. This was agreed upon by the network with Ms Susan Roces and Sen. Grace Poe, who both hold the rights to the King’s movies.

    • And that was the case since FPJ’s passing. However they did took a break from airing FPJ films because of a lot of programming commitments, until they resumed this past month.

  5. James Ty III says:

    I think ABS CBN should air the FPJ movies on Sunday’s Best if there are no specials. Watching an FPJ movie is better than a Tagalized James Bond movie.

  6. James Ty III says:

    GMA will air the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez fight this Sunday afternoon right after Sunday All-Stars. DZBB, GMA’s AM radio station, will air the fight live blow-by-blow.

    • Another case of too many commercials and delayed broadcast. At least there’s PPV for those who can afford that approach. GMA has had atrocious boxing coverage unlike ABS-CBN.

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  9. atleast ang GMA pinasok na rin ang sports coverage kahit sa pakikipagtulungan ng Solar Sports at Sport Division (producer at nagcover sa shakeys V League) na mapapanood sa GMA News TV. Dapat pagandahin lalao ang sports coverage ng GMA-7 at GMA News TV-11.

    • They did, pero that’s it. Blocktimer lang Solar at Sports Vision. If GMA wants to have sports on their lineup, they should handle most of the production load. Kaso, panay critically-acclaimed and not commercially successful ang mga pinapalabas na nila ngayon, so may financial disadvantage talaga sila.

  10. James Ty III says:

    GMA did not send a reporter to the FIBA World Cup unlike ABS, TV5 and Solar. GMA is more concerned with Tagalized movies.

  11. Jc says:

    Sorry for the jift, But I think it would be better if GMA should have the broadcast rights for these:
    -V-League (which is aside from it and better if GMA should handle the production load)
    -Solar Entertainment’s boxing matches (which is aside from it and it should be a GMA and Solar co-production
    -URCC (which may be aside from these)
    -Men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball and table tennis matches
    -WNCAA Futsal matches
    -World Professional Billards League

    If we will apply it to my “proposed platforms”, GMA Network will be carrying the final round of these leagues, while the other will be carried on the online-exclusive LifeTV.

    By the way, the MNCAA and WNCAA is not related to the NCAA. They are both ‘minor’ collegiate leagues.

    • That would happen if GMA were smart enough. Sa ngayon, hindi na talaga mangyayari since walang sports division ang GMA at umaasa na lang ngayon ang GMA sa blocktimers, sports man o noontime (EB, SPS, Wowowin).

      • As Mr. Sunday said in the past, OB vans for sports events are needed, and GMA couldn’t afford that. Until then they are stuck with sporadic sports coverage that emphasize the words ‘Pacquiao’ and ‘V-League’.

      • Exactly. Sports events tend to have more camera angles, hence the need of a bigger OB van for the occasion.

        Go visit a PBA or UAAP game and take a peek at the OB van parked at the arena. You’ll know what I mean.

      • Jc says:

        Actually I already saw some of TV5’s ob vans sometime a few years ago just along Araneta Coliseum during perhaps a PBA game. Take note, ginamit pa rin ang lumang van during the ABC-5 days, aside from the new van.

        And I think I already saw one of ABS-CBN’s OB vans also some years ago but also used it for their sports coverage

  12. Jc says:

    Maybe the reason why GMA does not have sports programming is that they wanted to focus more on values-based and entertainment programming. So sad that the network has not much sports content though.

      • Jc says:

        Here’s another idea by the way (if they would have been smart), why not GMA create their own basketball league just like what UNTV has. (Suggested title: GMA HoopLeague). But the atmosphere will be different as GMA Male talents will be used as main players along with co-players to go with its 8 respective teams (perhaps with the likes of Alden, Aljur, Elmo, Rocco, Dennis, Tom, Vin, and Dingdong). It’s maybe more smarter to invest on a basketball league than having a big “ball” that Star Magic has talent-wise and cost-wise. Yet at least GMA has a complementary program to the Boxing, V-League, URCC, WPBL Billiards, and maybe Tennis coverages broadcast-wise.

      • That might not happen. Nakafocus kasi sila ngayon sa AlDub and it’s hurting them, not benefiting them. They can’t even prioritize their other talents dahil nakatutok sila kina Alden at Yaya Dub. Obsession na yan sa GMA. Hindi rin makakatulong ang paliga na yan kung pipitsugin naman ang ratings ng kanilang shows (outside EB, SPS and Wowowin).

        About Star Magic Ball, kahit magastos yan, just let them continue since financially healthy naman ang ABS. May sarili namang olympics din ang Star Magic, kung hindi mo yan alam.

      • Again, the only way that GMA can independently produce sports coverage is if they purchase a bigger OB van. At this point, it’s a long shot given their financial situation.

        Masyado nang limited ang payroll at revenue ng GMA, kaya any dream for something like a sports division is just that – a dream.

  13. Believe That says:

    If they can improve their sports coverage of Shakey’s V-League, then they can have a better sports coverage. Right now, GMA News TV is just streaming a live game of V-League once a week and that is Sundays.

    Yet again, money is still a consideration when they are going for live games. Masyado rin magastos ang mag produce ng Live games every day.

    • They can’t improve the coverage of the V-League unless they acquire the rights away from Sports Vision, which is close to impossible. Since SV is a blocktimer, GMA has no choice but to adhere to their demands, and only SV has the final say on the airtime.

      If GMA wants to go with live games every day, they have to do it independently, not with a blocktimer. Too bad they can’t afford that.

      • Jake-jake Jacinto says:

        Let me emphasize: ‘Jovic’ said that his father told him that GMA used to air NBA, but now, sports (on free TV) is all delayed.

        On your behalf, though, I have a lesson to ‘Jovic’: Next time, fix the grammar and spelling in your comments correctly.

  14. Gab says:

    Heard that Shakey’s V-League will no longer seen on GMA News TV starting this conference as they set to move to Sports and Action. Games will be start on May 28

  15. Jared says:

    Ralph, i just found these 3 news articles from the year 2000:

    It seems like GMA once bid for the PBA games back in 2000 and even had a war with Vintage Sports. When the time PBA awarded Vintage as the winner, GMA later file a civil case against PBA and later graft charges against IBC-13 dahil sa pandaraya daw.

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