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Lack of Full TV Coverage is Hurting the NCAA

NCAA coverage on television continue to be spotty at best. (Photo credit: GMA News Online)

President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address will take place later this afternoon. Unfortunately, it is also a game day in the 90th NCAA season basketball tournament.

The NCAA doubleheader for this Monday afternoon will feature the San Beda-St. Benilde and Mapua-San Sebastian matches for both the juniors and seniors division. The seniors games are usually seen live on television, but due to today’s SONA, tape-delay broadcasts on the TV5 family of networks will be a likely scenario.

Television coverage has always been inconsistent for the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league. During the 1990s, when government TV stations PTV-4 and IBC-13 covered the games, only the opening day and championship matches were aired in full, with highlights of the other games relegated to their newscasts.

It only got worse in 2000, when the championship matches pitting St. Benilde and Jose Rizal College were not aired. Then in 2001, despite the guarantee of PTV-4 and Media Conglomerates, Inc. to air most of the matches, the NCAA tournament was reduced to a mere 30-minute highlight show called ‘Inside NCAA’, with opening day and championship matches being aired live.

In 2002, the NCAA decided to join forces with ABS-CBN Sports, with the league’s games now being featured on a regular basis. But with the UAAP already a fixture on Studio 23 (now ABS-CBN Sports+Action), the NCAA was relegated to a weekday-exclusive schedule, with non-televised games on Mondays. Still, it was a marginal improvement from the PTV-MCI era.

Ten years later, the NCAA signed a deal with Sports5 to cover their games. Initially airing over IBC-13 (via AKTV), the league was forced to return to UHF television via AksyonTV once the AKTV deal expired. In addition, TV5 aired the championship matches, before receiving a select slate of elimination games this year. This time, however, all games were aired on the said network.

Still, circumstances related to national events continued to affect the television coverage of the NCAA. Examples include the funeral of the late Corazon Aquino in 2009, the recent State of the Nation Addresses, and the Janet Lim-Napoles Pork Barrel hearings in 2013, which either led to pre-emptions or delayed broadcasts of the games. And more recently, the impromptu DAP address of President Aquino led to an abrupt end of Sports5’s live NCAA coverage.

In the end, it is clear that the NCAA is at a disadvantage. While television coverage is gradually improving, it is still far from a finished product. What the league needs now at this point is flexibility, from the scheduling to the availability of the venue, in order to take advantage of live television, and to satisfy the demands of loyal fans.

NCAA management should start learning from these experiences. Otherwise, the league will continue to feel its fair share of shortcomings on television coverage.

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8 thoughts on “Lack of Full TV Coverage is Hurting the NCAA

  1. Nameless says:

    Mas maganda kung Tuesday-Thursday-Friday-Sunday na lang. And besides, mas maganda kung mag-merge na lang ang UAAP at NCAA para matigil na ang rivalry nito in media exposure. Ang US-NCAA,mas maraming school members. And oo nga naman, medyo may “sense of discrimination” against NCAA in terms of media & social media exposures.

    • Such a merger proposal was endorsed before, but it didn’t work out. Instead the post-season tournament called the Philippine Collegiate Champions League was formed, inviting not only NCAA and UAAP schools, but also other MM leagues like NAASCU, UCAA, NCRAA and NCAA-South, as well as leagues in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

      If the Shakey’s V-League and the NCAA can work out a scheduling plan together, the Tu-Th-F-Su sked would be the best possible option. Pwede rin Tu-W-F-Su. Yung FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan ang pinagaagawan ng dalawang liga right now.

      Thing is, since Ateneo and La Salle left the NCAA for the UAAP in the 1980s due to rampant violence, the league simply lost much of that star power. The discrepancy of talent is also clear; most of the juniors stars in the MM would rather play for a UAAP school in college than an NCAA school dahil alam nila mas recognized ang mga schools ng UAAP. As a result, the NCAA schools are left with mostly transferees, junior basketball role players from other schools, and loyal stars from its juniors division

      • Nameless says:

        Napansin ko talaga ‘yan sa NCAA. Ang Semerad Twins ng Red Lions na lang ang parang nananatiling mukha ng NCAA sa media, when it comes to players who became instant celebrities dahil sa media exposure. While their counterpart sa UAAP are Jeron Teng, Kiefer Ravrna & Arnold van Opstal. Aminin natin, ang Red Lion twins na lang ang dahilan kung bakit may nanonood pa ng NCAA, esp.sa hanay ng fangirls.

        About sa venue, tila napabayaan na ng UAAP at NCAA ang Old Ynares Arena at PhilSports Arena na nasa Pasig lang. The last time na baglaro ang UAAP sa Ultra ay ‘nubg 2010 pa.

      • In the UAAP’s case, game attendance is constantly growing. Which is why they’ve been playing all their games at either MOA or Araneta since 2012.

        There are other available arenas in the metro, such as Cuneta, NAS, RMC, PhilSports, Makati Coliseum, Blue Eagle Gym or Ynares Arena. However, the FilOil Flying V Arena is now more preferred due to its intimacy, ease of accessibility, and comfort. Plus the building is only a decade old, and more modern than the arenas I mentioned. However, the PBA continues to book their games at Cuneta because it is the next biggest venue after MOA and Araneta, although traffic in the Libertad area remains a concern.

        The NCAA is definitely struggling with recruitment. Thing is, most of the league’s rookies are essentially transferees and castoffs from other schools, kasi they wanted playing time. And some schools lack the financial backing of the others, kaya hindi sila maka-recruit ng mga magagaling na blue-chippers from high school.

    • Nameless says:

      Speaking of those venues we’ve mentioned, why don’t they (UAAP & NCAA) try to put their games at the all-new Ynares Arena in Antipolo? Just for a change, kasi tila umiikot lagi sa Metro Manila ang venues ng dalawang liga. Since ang Sumulong Highway ng Antipolo is along the Marcos Highway in Pasig/Marikina.

      • Logistics ang problema sa Ynares. Perpetual’s campus in Las Pinas is the southernmost of all NCAA schools, while La Salle in Malate is the southernmost of all UAAP member schools. Those schools will be put at a disadvantage regarding travel, for sure.

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