The new PBA D-League season is underway, but the league started off without a television broadcast partner. The D-League is now in its fourth season, with 14 teams currently competing in the first conference Aspirants’ Cup. And with the recent PBA Rookie Draft attracting 79 prospects, interest in the PBA’s farm league is starting to pick up.
That newfound interest did not translate to television coverage, however. The league’s erstwhile partner in Sports5 decided to back out, as their commitments to the NCAA, the PBA, the United Football League, and other sports events made it impossible to add the D-League to their schedule. At the same time, the D-League started to negotiate with GMA for game coverage, according to sources. But as of today, GMA and the D-League have yet to agree on a television deal.
The addition of the D-League on GMA should be a welcome boost to the network, whose sports coverage have been few and far between. GMA’s recent sports resume only includes Manny Pacquiao fights, Shakey’s V-League matches and other minor events, a resume that does not equal that of ABS-CBN Sports or Sports5. If the Kapuso network agrees to air the D-League it will definitely increase its opportunity of acquiring the rights for PBA games soon, in the process adding its own reputation as a force in the sportscasting department.
Meanwhile, airing the D-League on GMA News TV should only boost the league’s exposure. With the talent pool growing, the league needs a broadcast partner to showcase some of the players’ skills, and introduce lesser-known basketball players to the audience. Imagine if the league failed to find a broadcast partner throughout the season, then no one will pay witness to see the likes of Chris Banchero or Bobby Ray Parks play against fellow Fil-foreigners and provincial talents. So the D-League needs that kind of exposure to help the fans memorize these up-and-coming players.
The PBA D-League is currently ongoing, and if GMA is able to pick up its games, it should help the league in the long-term.