Philippines, Sports, television

Too Much for TV: Why MPBL’s Sudden Expansion Will Be Burdensome to the League

From the ‘Original 10’ to the ‘New 16’.

A total of 16 new teams will join 10 holdovers for the upcoming MPBL Datu Cup that will start this June. The ‘New 16’ will include seven teams from Metro Manila, four teams from Luzon, one team from Visayas, and four teams from Mindanao.

The new teams are:

  • Bacoor Strikers
  • Basilan Shooters
  • Cebu City Sharks
  • Davao Occidental Tigers
  • GenSan Warriors
  • Laguna Heroes
  • Makati Skyscrapers
  • Mandaluyong El Tigre
  • Manila Stars
  • Marikina Shoemasters
  • Pampanga Lanterns
  • Pasay Voyagers
  • Pasig Pirates
  • Rizal Ankle Breakers
  • San Juan Knights
  • Zamboanga Valientes

They will join the ‘Original 10’ teams that first competed in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup, all of which are based within Luzon. The tournament, which ran from January to April of this year, was won by the Tanduay Batangas City Athletics.

But with the sudden addition of 16 new teams comes a new dilemma for Arnold Vegafria’s ALV Productions. The producer of the MPBL games on ABS-CBN S+A will now have to deal with increased scheduling, travel and production expenses, although for now the non-Luzon teams will not have any home games due to logistical concerns.

In the upcoming Datu Cup, 25 games will be played among the 26 teams. Since the Philippines does not have regional sports networks similar to those in the U.S., the MPBL will be forced to add more game days and stretch the duration of the tournament so that it will run for almost the entire year (barring holidays and weather disturbances).

This means that S+A, the network partner of the league, may have to deal with near-daily doubleheaders all year round. But with so many new teams and games to air, S+A might not be able to fully commit with the MPBL given its coverage of other events such as the ONE Championship and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Such a long tournament may also take its toll on the fans. While the MPBL managed to sell out games regularly during the Anta Rajah Cup, the Datu Cup could see some semblance of unpredictability attendance-wise, and if the MPBL is not careful in dealing with the lengthy schedule, it could lose some of its audience.

This will be a huge test for S+A, ALV and the MPBL to see if expansion will reap some benefits. It will not be easy for either one of them to deal, so each must play a key role in managing this tournament well.

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10 thoughts on “Too Much for TV: Why MPBL’s Sudden Expansion Will Be Burdensome to the League

    • Actually may livestreaming ang mga laro sa MPBL Facebook page. Saka hindi naman hawak ng ABS ang production nito; si Arnold Vegafria ang namamahala rito.

      Also, it’s worth considering na dalawang laro lang kada gabi ang ginagawa ng MPBL, with the first game being a neutral-site game tapos ang main game home at away na. Imposible rin ang tripleheaders at maraming simultaneous games per day dahil na rin sa budget at concerns ng mga fans. For now hinay-hinay muna ang MPBL hanggang sa umusbong ito.

  1. BLACK JACK says:

    I have this suggestion, bakit di nila gawin na may nba eastern at western conference ang dating, parang luzon at metro conference, then vismin conferance saka mag finals. hehe. ang daming teams kasi.

    • They actually divided it into two 13-team divisions. May Northern at Southern divisions na. The Original 10 teams plus Manila, Pampanga and San Juan ay nasa Northern Division, tapos the other 13 new teams ay nasa Southern Division. Medyo uneven pa yung distribution since kokonti pa lang ang teams from Visayas at Mindanao; some Metro Manila and CALABARZON teams are in the Northern Division, tapos yung ibang MM at CALABARZON teams ay nasa Southern Division.

  2. JW says:

    So far, I am worried about how the production for ABS-CBN can affect them financially for this league. Covering these league requires out of town travel which would include airfare and transport for their equipments. So far, the good thing about MPBL is that their 1st game is between neutral teams. The 2nd/Main game would be for the home team on that arena. It would be very costly for their part if they cover games on different venues on the same day.

    Anyways, the expansion thing is worrying for them because of time management. One time, may isang game ang nadelay ang start because of several technical issues on the game, na almost malate ang telecast nila for the FIFA. Also masyadong late na ang 9-11pm to watch live IMO. Unlike PBA na up to 9pm ang end ng last games nila.

    • Walang choice si Arnold Vegafria kundi i-ere ang MPBL doubleheaders sa primetime because ABS-CBN Sports’ priority is with NCAA, UAAP and PVL games in the afternoon. Besides, the late start doesn’t hinder attendance one bit since the games are closer to home and traffic is much lighter this time of the day.

      • Matagal-tagal rin ang intermission between the first and second game which I don’t understand why are they taking that long to start another game. Hindi naman ito UAAP.

      • JW says:

        Medyo na pansin ko lang sa MPBL, matagal minsan mag start dahil ata sa technical aspect like may player silang almost di pinalaro dahil sa citizenship/ information. I mean come on, di ba nila nasscreen ang players bago magstart ang new season/cup? Medyo naabala pa nila ung airing time dahil sa clarification period. May pag-asa din ung MPBL, pero need lang nila mag improve sa pre cup or season na process. Unlike sa PBA, Pre cup pa lang, alam na nila ung magiging roster ng team.

      • It could also apply to in-season acquisitions which do happen throughout. Kung pwede nga just days before the game dapat ginagawa na nila ito.

        Pero so far magulo yung pamamalakad nila despite the large crowds. If they continue like this for the next few games ABS might as well cut short their blocktime contract dahil nagsasayang lang sila ng oras and are detrimental to other programming, katulad kagabi nag-OT sila kaya naantala yung World Cup.

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