Remembering the NCAA on TV5

Adios, NCAA on TV5.

In one month, the 91st season of the NCAA will get underway. The league will have a new (or old) media partner going forward, as they joined forces with ABS-CBN Sports beginning this season.

But before we look ahead to the league’s return to the Kapamilya group, let us reflect on the three-year relationship between the NCAA and TV5.

Ambitious Beginnings

The NCAA joined forces with Sports5 prior to Season 88. The games were first broadcast on the AKTV on IBC-13 block, with a Monday-Thursday-Saturday schedule and a 4:00 p.m. start time.

The league also held a pair of provincial playdates in an effort to attract new fans. But to fans’ dismay, neither of the out-of-town games were aired on AKTV, a predicament that continued the next season with AksyonTV.

AKTV also employed full-time sideline reporters as opposed to student representatives/OJTs used by ABS-CBN Sports. They also deviated from ABS-CBN’s practice of showing cheering squads at halftime, and instead used the time to read netizens’ tweets and talk to fans of opposing schools.

And of course, a new partner means a new broadcast staff. Sports5 elected to employ a younger cast of announcers, as opposed to a more veteran-laden team during the ABS-CBN era, in hopes of connecting to younger fans.

Brewing Troubles and Change of Stations

The first sign of trouble for the NCAA on Sports5 took place in the Season 88 Finals. Game 3 of the San Beda-Letran series was aired on TV5 but on a more unfavorable early afternoon slot, a scenario that was repeated in the following year’s finals between the same two teams.

Then in May 2013, Mediaquest and TV5 decided to end their blocktime deal with IBC-13. This forced Sports5 to move the league’s games to AksyonTV, a decision that didn’t sit well with the viewers due to the station’s poor reach and accessibility.

Worse, the lack of an online livestreaming platform only exacerbated the situation, especially during heavily prioritized live news events such as the State of the Nation Address. Although Sports5 managed to provide a livestreaming platform by Season 90, the damage was already done at that point.

A Last-Ditch Effort By TV5

Season 90 saw a select number of games aired on the flagship TV5, in hopes of addressing the need for wider access. Still, a few games that ran overtime were cut off TV5 in favor of Aksyon Prime (a decision known as the ‘Heidi Moment’), something that was not experienced when ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23, now ABS-CBN Sports+Action) had the rights.

The TV5 games also featured the infamous Moneyball game that was first implemented during the network’s PBA coverage. The presence of Moneyball took away the school spirit aspect of the game, as it prevented the league’s fans from watching the performance of the cheering squads at halftime.

Even though TV5 aired a select number of games that season, AksyonTV still had a major presence on the NCAA coverage. The addition of TV5 did little to increase attention to the league’s games, despite a major promotional campaign that signified the NCAA as ‘Ang Larong Tunay’ (A True Game).

Aftermath

In the end, the ambitious plans of TV5 for the NCAA backfired. The demise of AKTV proved too much, as it affected whatever grand plans the Kapatid network has had in making the NCAA more competitive and attractive to viewers.

Promotion of the league was also a problem, as Sports5 continues to prioritize the PBA. Furthermore, the constant change in channels, along with the use of unorthodox gimmicks such as Moneyball, the lack of modern technologies, and the use of full-time reporters as opposed to student representatives, only hastened the decline.

The final straw for the NCAA on TV5 took place once their regular on-air announcers were elevated to the PBA. In hindsight, it was clear that TV5 has had enough; even though they tried to offer an extension, the NCAA felt the time to move on was now.

And so it did. From now on, it’s ABS-CBN Sports’ turn once more. And the NCAA couldn’t be happier.

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19 thoughts on “Remembering the NCAA on TV5

  1. In fairness to TV5, I was told that MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) tried to offer the NCAA a contract extension but the NCAA officials made up their minds to move back to ABS-CBN.

    My source also told me that the NCAA did not like TV5’s asking price for a contract renewal and when MVP found out about it, he tried to approach the NCAA officials to make them change their minds.

    Sadly, it was too late.

    Meantime, San Beda team manager Jude Roque told me that ABS-CBN Sports is conducting auditions for new anchors, analysts and courtside reporters. Jude himself is auditioning although he was a former NCAA anchor for ABS-CBN.

    • The clear thing is that the NCAA has had enough of TV5. The problems and the expectations were simply too much. The cancellation of AKTV definitely screwed things up, and TV5 never recovered.

      As for ABS-CBN Sports, they are starting over in the same way TV5 did when they started.

  2. Hey, guys. How are you? I know I’m not supposed to be here but to get my opinion:

    It was a good idea to move NCAA back to ABS-CBN from TV5 in order to fill up the two slacking yet prioritized sportscasting months on Sports + Action since the popular UAAP will begin in September and the most obvious, financial feasibility.

    Talk to you soon.

  3. And since we’re talking about college hoops, last year nga, balak kunin ng Sports5 ang rights ng UAAP mula sa ABS. Given Sports5’s mistreatment sa NCAA, UAAP made the right decision to stay with ABS-CBN.

    I hope that NCAA will recover this time on its second stint with ABS-CBN Sports and hoping na hindi na mauulit ang nangyari sa Sports5 na nakafocus pa rin sa PBA.

  4. Di naman malaking kawalan ang NCAA sa Sports5, at least, meron pa rin sila ibang properties to be broadcast on all of their platforms, most especially, in the SEA Games.

    Heard also that ABS-CBN will audition in a few days some applicants for the reporters and anchors to fill the broadcast team of the NCAA coverage.

    • Indeed. Kaso masyadong overloaded na ang Sports5 pagdating sa mga ganitong sports coverages. They’re so overly dependent with their free TV outlets na halos makalimutan na nila yung HYPER channel sa Cignal. That said, they still need a lot of work in promoting both HYPER and Cignal. As it stands, hindi pa masyadong ka-level ng HYPER ang Balls, Solar Sports, ASN at FOX Sports.

      As I said, ABS is starting over with new on-air announcing teams. Same initiation process na ginawa ng Sports5 noong nasa kanila pa ang NCAA.

  5. So, the Kapamilya sports dept. is now looking for new and fresh faces of commentators? Hmmm, hindi ba pwede sina Boom Gonzales, Anton Roxas, Kirk Long, etc.? I’m wondering na rin kung sino-sino ang magiging commentators, if ever.

    Regarding Mr. Ty’s comment, UAAP seems that they’ll have the word FOREVER in ABS-CBN. See you again at the FilOil, Sir James Ty. 🙂

    • ABS wanted a separate team for the NCAA. Remember, they also had a separate team for the NC in the past, a more veteran team to say the least. With that, there should be opportunities for younger voices to make their presence felt.

    • Hi Nameless. Regarding the NCAA broadcast team, as I posted, ABS-CBN Sports is conducting auditions for new on-cam talents. We’re not sure if former NCAA anchors Bill Velasco and Boyet Sison will be back.

      Boyet is full-time with ANC while Bill is still in the process of releasing his PBA 40th anniversary documentary in theaters.

  6. Was the Heidi moment (TV5 not finishing the aired games in two separate instances to completion, in favor of starting their primetime news) also a factor in NCAA leaving TV5?

      • The problems that TV5 faced should be a lesson to ABS-CBN Sports in their second go-round with the NCAA. TV5 learned that the hard way when they made ambitious moves that eventually failed.

        In the end, TV5 and collegiate sports are not meant for each other.

  7. As long as MVP and TV5 concentrate a lot on the PBA, college sports will never be a part of TV5’s programming.

    • They’ve been doing that the past several years. ABS will forever be credited with turning the UAAP into a mainstream spectacle. And hopefully they can work their magic with the NCAA as well.

      TV5’s strong suit will always be the PBA and international multi-sport events such as the Olympics.

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