Signed, sealed, and delivered.
As expected, the UAAP decided to renew its existing broadcast rights deal with ABS-CBN Sports for another five years. The extended contract will begin starting Season 78 (2015-16) and will last through Season 82 (2019-20).
This will ensure that the partnership between the UAAP and ABS-CBN will reach its 20th year once it wraps up its newest contract, making it the longest tenured broadcast deal among the current sports leagues in the country.
The latest contract extension was not without any obstacles, however. Back in February, TV5’s sports division (Sports5) submitted a letter of intent to the UAAP board with regards to the league’s television broadcasts.
Sports5 would have been a great partner for the UAAP. Unfortunately, their poor handling of the NCAA broadcasts, not to mention the lack of extensive promotion and coverage in sports other than basketball, proved to be a hindrance that is too much to overcome.
The decision to renew the existing contract was based on the league’s recent spike in popularity. Leading the way are men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, which continues to be the focus of attention in ABS-CBN’s coverage.
True to form, both disciplines attracted record crowds during the past few years, especially during the championship series. In fact, in the last three title deciders in either men’s basketball or women’s volleyball, over 20,000 spectators packed both the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena.
Even more impressive was the fact that ABS-CBN Sports began to show weekly live coverage of men’s football and men’s volleyball via Balls HD 167, with the said sports continuing to air on tape-delay via ABS-CBN Sports+Action. As the new contract gets underway, expect an even more extensive coverage of other UAAP sports, in various platforms.
That said, the renewal of broadcast rights between the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports should only further the league’s increasing popularity. The UAAP may now be more popular than ever before, but without the help of ABS-CBN Sports, it may have never achieved the blockbuster success that it has enjoyed today.