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Premier League Out of Balls; BeIN Sport Launches

This past August, ABS-CBN‘s Balls Channel announced the airing of Premier League matches on the network, giving loyal soccer fans an opportunity to watch the most popular soccer league in the world. However, with BeIN Sport finally making its long-awaited debut in the Philippines last October 15, ABS-CBN had no choice but to relinquish the airing of Premier League matches on the Balls Channel starting November 1.

BeIN Sport first acquired the rights for the Premier League during the offseason. Previous broadcasters Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESPN Asia) and STAR Sports aired the Premier League for several years, but mounting broadcast rights expenses forced the networks to step aside, and replace them with the lesser-known Dutch Eredivisie. Despite the announcement, BeIN Sport did not reach cable subscribers in time for the start of the Premier League, forcing ABS-CBN to step in on a temporary basis.

After a successful launch in Indonesia last July, MP & Silva finally launched BeIN Sport in the Philippines last October 15. BeIN Sport will have three channels on the HD dial, one of which will be devoted exclusively to the Premier League. Unfortunately, the channels will only be available on HD, thus loyal and fierce soccer fans will have to shell out more money in order to install a high-definition digibox.

The all-Premier League channel BeIN Sport 3 HD is available on Channel 206, while sister network BeIN Sport 2 HD is available on Channel 205, both through SkyCable. Meanwhile, Balls Channel will continue to air the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, with the purpose of quenching the thirst of devoted soccer fans craving for some non-stop soccer action.

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Philippines, Sports, television

The Other Pinoy Pride

Two simultaneous boxing events featuring rising Filipino boxers Johnriel Casimero, Genesis Servania and Arthur Villanueva will be aired this weekend. ABS-CBN and ALA Promotions’ successful ‘Pinoy Pride’ series will have its 22nd installment featuring Servania against Panamanian boxer Rafael Concepcion for the WBO Intercontinental Super Bantamweight Championship, and Villanueva against Mexican Jose Cabrera for the WBO International Super Flyweight Championship. And over at GMA, its ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series will pit Casimero against Mexican Felipe Salgueiro for the IBF Junior Flyweight Championship. ‘Laban ng Lahi’ airs tonight after ‘Celebrity Bluff’, while ‘Pinoy Pride’ airs tomorrow morning after ‘Matanglawin’.

While the Pinoy Pride series has become well-known for promoting young and up-and-coming talent from the ALA stable, it has been a different story for GMA’s ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series. Despite sharing the same aspect of promoting young boxing sensations, GMA produces the series on an independent basis, and through a variety of promoters. Some of the Filipino boxers who have fought in the series include Casimero, Donnie Nietes, Denver Cuello, Dodie Boy Penalosa, Brian Viloria, Marvin Sonsona and female boxer Ana Julaton.

Some of the fights featured on the series have also been re-aired on the ‘All Sports’ program on GMA News TV, which contrary to its name, has been mostly synonymous with airing boxing matches. In addition, some of the aforementioned boxers have also been profiled in another GNTV program, ‘Sports Pilipinas’.

Even though the ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series has been decently successful in its own right, it has suffered from a lack of promotion, sporadic television appearances, and a lack of available talent. The series has also been overshadowed by GMA’s promotion of bouts featuring more well-known boxers such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley, and Manny Pacquiao. In contrast, ‘Pinoy Pride’ on ABS-CBN has maintained stability over the years because of the ALA Promotions’ positive track record to training and planning the careers of their talents, in addition to aggressive promotional tactics. Some of the ALA talents went on to achieve international success after their appearances on ‘Pinoy Pride’.

The ‘Laban ng Lahi’ series may be considered GMA’s answer to ‘Pinoy Pride’, but unless they can find a stable with the same vision as ALA’s, their own series is considered an afterthought in the pro boxing scene.

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