New contract, new hope, and new expectations.
This is exactly what happened when the NBA, Solar Entertainment and ABS-CBN signed a new television contract last Friday. The contract signing, held at the NBA Cafe at Taguig’s SM Aura, featured NBA legend Darryl Dawkins, along with NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy, Solar Entertainment President and CEO Wilson Tieng, and ABS-CBN Narrowcast head March Ventosa.
Under the terms of the new deal, Solar Entertainment (through Basketball TV and NBA Premium) and ABS-CBN Sports (through ABS-CBN Channel 2 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action) will air around 30 NBA games per week throughout the regular season. In addition, highlights and special programs like ‘NBA Action’ will continue to air on each channel.
While the new contract deals seem enticing enough for NBA fans, there are still some old problems to face with regards to the game broadcasts.
One is the ongoing issue regarding tape-delay broadcasts. These scenarios will remain prevalent throughout the season, either due to programming constraints, broadcast limits, or game scheduling conflicts, and as such, are unavoidable.
Two is the questionable selection of games. The NBA always has the authority to select the games for its international partners, but for some reason, fans have continued to balk on some of their selections, especially when a game between either one or two rebuilding teams is picked over a more compelling matchup involving big-name teams and players.
And third is the game presentation. While NBA Premium will continue to air games uninterrupted and without the aid of local advertising, the same cannot be said for Basketball TV and ABS-CBN Sports. As such, expect the latter two channels to continue their rabid placement of advertisements in every game, quarter to quarter and highlight to highlight, even if it takes cutting the broadcast short just for these.
So heading into the new season, the same old problems will once again await both Solar and ABS-CBN. Still, expect more of the same intense action that the NBA has always offered, from the regular season all the way to the championship.
Notes: In addition to Basketball TV, NBA Premium and ABS-CBN Sports, Fox Sports Philippines will also broadcast a select number of NBA games this season. They even went as far as picking the games themselves, contrary to the NBA policy of selecting its games for its international partners.