Philippines, Sports, television, United States

NCAA March Madness Belatedly Returns to Solar Sports, BTV

There will be US NCAA March Madness in the Philippines after all.

This weekend, Solar Sports and Basketball TV will join forces to cover Sunday’s Final Four and Tuesday’s National Championship of the US NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Sunday’s games are as follows:

  • Villanova vs. Oklahoma (6:00 a.m. live on Solar Sports and Basketball TV)
  • Syracuse vs. North Carolina (8:45 a.m. live on Solar Sports and 10:30 a.m. delayed broadcast on Basketball TV)

The winners of the above games will face off in Tuesday’s National Championship. It will take place at 8:00 a.m. live on Solar Sports and Basketball TV.

This marks the return of the NCAA tournament to the Solar networks for the first time since 2013. Unfortunately, the return of March Madness to Solar was somewhat belated, due to a lack of interest from various networks.

Sports5, the rightsholder of the last two US NCAA March Madness tournaments, decided to back out owing to cost-cutting measures and the yearly observance of Holy Week. Fox Sports Philippines, who covers conference college tournaments, also did not express interest, and neither did ABS-CBN Sports due to its focus on the UAAP.

With no other options, Solar Sports decided to step in, but their involvement came way too late. As a result, they missed out covering the preliminaries, from the First Four to the Elite Eight.

Still, as far as Solar is concerned, it’s better late than never. After all, March Madness is considered a must-watch event, even if a few Filipinos religiously follow the tournament.

It remains to be seen whether or not Solar will be willing to cover another year or two of March Madness. But hopefully, once they express interest again, the coverage won’t be just the Final Four and the National Championship, but also the First Four, the rounds of 64 and 32, the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight, for the full March Madness experience.

Good luck.


8 thoughts on “NCAA March Madness Belatedly Returns to Solar Sports, BTV

  1. If they plan to air the full tournament next year, they should do the scheme CBS and Turner Sports does during the tournament. Like for instance, BTV will air the 1vs16 match-up while Solar Sports will air the 7vs10 match-up The only thing to do is find two more networks who are willing to air games.

    • Unfortunately, US college basketball isn’t as popular as the NBA here, that’s why even ABS-CBN Sports is reluctant to cover the tournament. Sports5 also lost a lot of money because of this.

      Perhaps Solar would be more satisfied with airing one, two or three matches a day spread into two channels. And with BTV more focused into the NBA, Solar Sports must step up some more, since they lack some big-name events of late.

      • Well it sucks because I’ve watched some US College Basketball on Youtube and it has some good potential here. But you have a point, most of us don’t care about it because how different it is to Pro hoops and for me actually a knock out type of playoff format that NCAA is using for a long time is more intense than a 7 game series and it will keep many viewers on hook. Well let’s hope for the best though.

      • Truth is, US college hoops tends to be slower and boring. There are too many timeouts per half, including the so-called TV timeouts, which is why it only attracts a few fans because of it.

      • Solar Sports lack any high-profile events after giving up with PGA Tour rights and they’re stuck with boxing reruns and cockfighting for three months already.

        As for the prospects of US NCAA making it big to PH viewers, it will remain low as it caters to niche audience. We’re way too focused on UAAP and our very own NCAA for college sports.

      • And besides, our style of college hoops is way different from that of the US, since ours is FIBA-influenced and faster-paced. That’s why only a few care about the US NCAA because it tends to be slower and boring.

        The truth is, this is Solar Sports’ last chance to prove their worth as a big-time sports channel. Once Manny Pacquiao retires and they were unable to find something more globally recognized, this is the end for them.

  2. little_king says:

    Solar Entertainment saves the day! I’ve been looking for PH viewing of NCAA March Madness 2016 since it started but there was none. Maybe next season, Solar Entertainment can also show games from strong conferences such as ACC and Big 10. Also, games between UNC and Duke plus the Conference Tournaments before the NCAA Tournament.

    • Unfortunately, Fox Sports PH already has the rights to the US NCAA conference tournaments. Plus with BTV emphasizing so much on the NBA, it’s very unlikely that they will carry college basketball during the regular season.

      If Solar Sports has the money to buy the rights then it will be possible. But it’s not easy since US NCAA college basketball isn’t as popular as either the NBA or even the UAAP and our NCAA.

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