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A Lesson Learned: The Success of the UAAP Cheerdance Competition

Defending champions in both the Cheerdance and Group Stunts competitions, the NU Cheering Squad will try to do one better this Sunday in the 2014 UAAP Cheerdance Competition. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

On Sunday, cheering squads of the eight UAAP schools will once again take center stage.

The UAAP Cheerdance Competition, now on its 20th edition, will take place inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum on September 14. The can’t miss event of the UAAP season besides men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, the Cheerdance Competition has been steadily growing in popularity since ABS-CBN Sports took over league broadcast rights in Season 63 (2000-01).

While it does not have any effect on the overall championship tally, fans, students and alumni will nevertheless enjoy every moment of the cheering squads’ execution of stunts, leaps, tumbles and special themes, not to mention the loud cheers and the banging drums. The unpredictable nature of the event makes for some compelling television.

So it was not a surprise to see why the recent editions of the Cheerdance Competition became social media hits. ABS-CBN Sports has done a very good job in hyping the event in advance, and the fans, whether they are watching in person, on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, on Balls HD 167, or on UAAP’s livestream website, were invested into the network’s early bird promotion.

This was in contrast to the recent NCAA Cheerleading Competition that was held at the Mall of Asia Arena last March. Poor attendance, poor viewership, lack of sponsors, and poor hype were the reasons why no one paid attention to NCAA’s own version. And TV5, the league’s coveror, paid dearly for it.

If there’s a league that can make cheerdancing a popular spectacle even for just one day, it’s the UAAP. The Cheerdance Competition is the time of the year where the cheering squads of the eight member schools try to one-up each other by performing routines that are difficult, impressive and creatively planned to near-perfection. And the fans buy into each performance.

This year’s competition will be no different, as defending champion NU Cheering Squad and the seven others will try to improve on last year’s routines. The UAAP Cheerdance Competition is expected to be another 20k-attended event, and millions will surely talk about it on social media before, during, and after the event.

One final note: For those in search of some eye candy, pay attention to Boom Gonzales’ dazzling co-host for Sunday afternoon, as well as the season’s courtside reporters in their respective schools’ gear. The Cheerdance Competition will not be complete without them.

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