Decision Time for the NBA on ABS-CBN

The 2014 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat will be shown on free TV’s ABS-CBN Channel 2, in the final year of its 3 1/2 year co-production deal with Solar Sports.

The NBA Finals begin Friday morning. And for ABS-CBN Sports, this will be their last chance to show NBA fans in the Philippines that they deserve to air the games live on free TV.

This year’s NBA Finals will mark the end of a 3 1/2 year co-production agreement between Solar Sports and ABS-CBN Sports. The agreement, signed in time for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend, came after erstwhile coveror RPN/Solar TV decided to rebrand into ETC.

However, the Solar/ABS-CBN alliance proved to be problematic from the beginning. The Kapamilya network was criticized for broadcasting a majority of the games on a delayed basis, something previous partner RPN rarely did. Much of the blame was centered on the games aired on Channel 2, which prioritizes more on its news and entertainment programs rather than sports events like the NBA.

In fact, in the recent NBA Finals, Monday games that begin at 8:00 am Manila time were aired on a delayed basis simply because of Kris Aquino’s lifestyle show ‘Kris TV’. Perhaps ABS-CBN does not want to risk preempting her show, or that Kris was too influential for the network. In any event, these recent decisions by ABS-CBN Sports does not sit well with most fans.

Fans have also balked at how the NBA assigns its games to its global broadcast partners. In fact, this year’s playoffs saw less compelling series such as the Indiana-Atlanta and Brooklyn-Toronto series feature prominently on Basketball TV, while the Miami Heat and some of the Western Conference series were usually given to ABS-CBN Sports. Similar complaints also took place in more recent postseasons, thanks in large part to social media.

And there is also the bad case of lack of timing and advertisement overload. Ads such as KFC, Tanduay and Master astringents have interrupted game commentary prior to tipoff or a play, before the commercial break, and after a game. Perhaps the most insulting part of ABS-CBN’s repertoire is the fact that they cut any player interviews at halftime and postgame just to show sponsored highlights or game scores.

As the NBA Finals begin this Friday, a decision needs to be made with regards to the fate of the league’s Philippine free TV coverage. ABS-CBN should be in the running for renewal, since ratings for the NBA games have been very good despite numerous complaints.

Another possible contender may be Sports5, whose open slots in the morning may be more suitable to live NBA coverage than ABS-CBN’s. And while GMA may be considered a dark-horse contender, their lack of a sports division may prevent them from even bidding for NBA rights.

For now, the NBA coverage will remain with ABS-CBN Sports, at least until the end of this year’s Finals. But a decision regarding NBA’s free TV rights in the Philippines will have to begin as soon as possible. And basketball fans can’t wait.

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19 thoughts on “Decision Time for the NBA on ABS-CBN

  1. Coming out from the words of a Kapamilya apologist (and his elder sidekick), I see and understand the fate of the broadcast about the fate of our fans.

    Indeed, it is sad if Dos fails to renew a contract and about Kris, the youngest and the noisiest Presidential Sister, her contract was renewed for a longer term (in my instincts) than NBA’s. (I watched one of her episodes last January while I was in the bus going to Tagaytay, thanking God for another term in staying at Dos, despite my distaste). Much worse, Kris blares the tube everyday with Boy Abunda.

    Back to your discourse, Ralph, if Dos fails, TV5 would be interested but still, Manny V. Pangilinan, because of his business-minded attitude, the network would suffer operating losses on the long run.

    GMA 7? Ha ha ha, that’s an IMPOSSIBLE dream. Try airing the game series and classical anime loyalists will cry foul! Unless Ramon Ang grabs the majority equity stake from the Trinity of Absymal Programming Wreckers.

    But for now, the lesser evil and conflicts in airing NBA is now on the current license holder at Mother Ignacia corner Sgt. Esguerra.

    • Well ABS-CBN has the money and the ratings to back it up. And since the other networks are running into so much trouble, it’s safe to say that, despite the anger that NBA fans are throwing into the Kapamilya network, ABS-CBN will still be an ideal broadcaster for the NBA. Unless of course another broadcaster would be open to a deal.

  2. AFAIK, Kris can’t be booted out of her time slot (or delayed) because she has significant economic interest of ABS-CBN Corporation, as listed in their latest PSE disclosure. She has I think at least 3% share of ABS.

  3. Pingback: Will the 2014 NBA Finals mark the final buzzer for the Filipino fans? | Timow's Turf

  4. ABS-CBN Sports has done a wonderful job with the NBA, except nga for the airing of the games because of Kris Aquino. Honestly speaking, Kris is too overexposed. You see her seven days a week.

    The best suggestion is for UKG to air from 5-7 am followed by Kris TV at 7 am.

    • Sabi pa nga niya back then she decided to leave TV dahil conflict of interest kay PNoy, pero bumalik pa rin.

      So what’s next, Kris acquiring a 50% or so stake on ABS-CBN? It’s as if Kris is owning the Kapamilya network at the moment.

    • That’s just a short-term fix, James. Dos has Sports and Action to supply the live coverage of NBA Finals but the programming in Channel 23 but may cause conflicts. Ending the UKG early, according to your proposal, would be too extreme but as long as Krissy kills people’s minds with her big mouth in her extended show, God forbid, I am ready to hang on the ropes to the Valley of Death.

      • As I said, Kris is overexposed. But as long as she is earning millions for ABS, NBA fans like us have to suffer.

  5. I have this theory. Give yourselves time to think about it.

    The reason why we have a DELAYED NBA Finals this year is because ABS is no longer gonna renew their contract with Solar Entertainment. If my theory is correct. Solar needs to partner up with the networks that they have worked with before like GMA and TV5

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