Philippines, satellite TV, Sports, television

With PBA Rush, League’s Future with TV5 Appears Secure

Cignal’s newest channel, PBA Rush, was launched July 17, at a time when the league’s future with parent network TV5 is in doubt. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine Basketball Association, Cignal Digital TV)

Looks like loyal followers of the PBA will have nothing to worry about as far as television coverage is concerned.

Yesterday, the league and Cignal joined forces to launch a 24-hour channel called PBA Rush. Available exclusively on Cignal SD channel 52 and HD channel 129, the channel will feature live PBA games, as well as special league-centric programming and classic games.

Prior to the official unveiling of PBA Rush, the channel had been airing in test broadcast since early July. During that period, it aired replays of the season’s two previous tournaments (Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup), as well as the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.

The decision to launch PBA Rush came at a not-so opportune time. The ongoing Governors’ Cup was to be the league’s last hurrah with TV5, and with the network enduring a lot of problems with its programming, it seems obvious that the PBA could be on its way out.

But where will the PBA go at this point? Here’s a look at how the other free TV channels stack up as far as the league is concerned (only VHF channels are listed here, as the PBA prefers to airs games on that platform only).

ABS-CBN – The Kapamilya network has expressed interest in airing the PBA games for a long time. However, what holds them back is their reluctance to air the games on primetime, the league’s long-standing decision to air games on VHF channels only, and the sports division’s loaded lineup.

PTV-4 – The PBA and the People’s Network are no stranger to each other, having been partners during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. But with the network undergoing a rebuilding phase under PCOO secretary and former TV5 personality Martin Andanar, it is unlikely that a reunion will take place in the foreseeable future.

GMA/GMA News TV – Sporting events and GMA have been few and far between since the network switched from a rainbow logo to a rainbow-colored heart logo. And with the Kapuso network already in a spending binge thanks to the return of ‘Encantadia’, it is unlikely that GMA will pursue the PBA (and any other sporting event for that matter) anytime soon.

RPN-9/CNN Philippines – Before RPN-9 became the home of CNN Philippines, it used to air PBA games in the 1970s and more recently in the late 2000s. However, since CNN has content rights to the local version of the channel, there is no way that a reunion with the PBA will happen as long as they’re here.

IBC-13 – The PBA and IBC has had three different stints under three different partners: Vintage/VIVA TV, PTV-4 and Sports5. But with the embattled network currently up for sale, any further return is not in the cards for now.

That said, it is a safe bet that the PBA and TV5 will renew their contract soon after the conclusion of the Governors’ Cup. Then again, any contract renewal may no longer be a possibility, since the launch of PBA Rush essentially extended PBA’s relationship with TV5 for the foreseeable amount of time.

Still, it remains to be seen if the launch of PBA Rush will pay dividends. But let’s just hope that the channel will not pose a threat to Manny V. Pangilinan’s pocket.


20 thoughts on “With PBA Rush, League’s Future with TV5 Appears Secure

    • Exactly. They could possibly be the first professional league outside of the US to have its own TV channel. But whether or not they can sustain it remains to be seen.

  1. Kung ako ng tatanungin ilipat sa cable ng pba pag elims pag finals na split ng games sa 2,5 at 7 yun ng systema sa us eh NBA TV/ESPN muna yung elims tapos sa NBC or ABC yung finals po.

    • Problem is, neither ABS nor GMA can accommodate the PBA. Madaming demands ang ABS, while GMA is not really a willing partner in sports coverage. Saka mababawasan ng audience ang PBA kapag sa cable lang inere ang elims.

      As for you, I’m starting to sense a pattern here. Poser ka ba? Kasi ang pansin ko sa ‘yo iba-iba yung gamit mong email and IP addresses. Kung totoong Ian Santos ka dapat iisa lang ang gamit mong e-mail at IP address. Baka kasi mapagkamalan kang spammer or hoaxer. This is my last warning to you. The next time you comment with a different IP and e-mail, I’ll ban you. Please heed my warning to you, ok?

      • Jose Tiamson says:

        The thing is most people in the US have cable. And the NBA took advantage of it. Unlike here, almost everyone has no access to cable. So we still rely on free tv to watch the games.

      • Jose Tiamson says:

        That is a huge yes. And Ian you need to study more things about marketing strategies and how to make it feasible. Because by the looks of it, I think your proposition is not that feasible. And you need to know the demographic of each area from class a to e, because what you propose only serves class a to b or c.

      • Mga middle class at mayayaman lang ang may cable o satellite subscription, Ian. Mukhang hindi ata aware ang poser na yan na naka-antenna ang mayorya ng mga televiewers sa Pilipinas.

  2. Jose Tiamson says:

    Well ABS-CBN Sports are currently in talks with the Asean Basketball League to air its games on ch 23. Regarding the PBA, I think the league is not sellable anymore due to politics inside the league and lower gate attendance. Most fans are agreeing that the PBA is not in good shape and it maybe gone forever anytime soon.

    • Which is why the others are extremely reluctant to air the games because of the PBA’s offcourt issues. And the only ally of the league at this point is TV5, whose owner happens to possess three PBA franchises.

      If the PBA were to close forever, it’ll be a big blow to Philippine basketball and to those who depend on it.

  3. Jason says:

    But with this move, it will likely ease some problems on AksyonTV. Now they have two sports-oriented channels with this and Hyper, that will cater to sports fan. Hoping for a revamp on the news side however.

    • AksyonTV’s problem had already been eased before that, since they ceased simulcasting the PBA games at the start of the season. They could be the free TV version of HYPER sooner or later considering the shift in content they’re having right now.

  4. Pingback: Rio Olympics 2016: The insights & whatnots | Timow's Turf

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