Philippines, Sports, television

Is UAAP Women’s Basketball Being Slighted by ABS-CBN Sports?

UAAP Season 81 is well underway.

But while the men’s basketball tournament always gets the attention of ABS-CBN Sports due to its popularity and appeal (that along with the eight courtside reporters for the season), the same cannot be said of the women’s side. There are three factors as to why UAAP women’s basketball tends to get an unfair treatment from ABS-CBN and sports fans in particular.

Lack of Popular Appeal

For the most part, women’s basketball has never been popular in the Philippines. Part of it was due to the absence of a legitimate women’s basketball league and a still-overlying perception that only men can play ball.

UAAP women’s basketball, in particular, only attracts around hundreds, if not less, fans in each game. Which leads to the second factor.

Disparity in Scheduling

Unlike men’s volleyball which is always scheduled before women’s volleyball matches, UAAP women’s basketball schedules always vary in terms of dates and venues. For example, here is the schedule for first round of Season 81.

Looking at the schedule closely, there are three playdates of at least three games that will be held at either the Blue Eagle Gym or the FilOil Flying V Centre. The rest are scheduled on the same day as the men’s basketball games at either the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The fact of the matter is, basketball remains a more popular sport than volleyball and the UAAP usually places the former sport for men in big venues because of its immense appeal. It would be tough for women’s basketball games to be scheduled on the same venue and on the same day as the men especially when popular rivalries such as Ateneo-La Salle come into play.

Loaded Schedule for ABS-CBN Sports

This September alone ABS-CBN Sports has an extremely busy schedule to attend to. In addition to UAAP men’s basketball, the network also covers the NCAA seniors’ basketball, the MPBL and the PVL among others.

ABS-CBN is also expected to air the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season next month. That said, with so many commitments left and right, the network has no room to cover UAAP women’s basketball on television and can only settle for live coverage of the finals come December (but at least it still airs the WNBA as part of its contract with the NBA).

It remains to be seen if ABS-CBN Sports will be willing to change its perception towards the UAAP women’s basketball tournament. For now, though, women’s basketball in the Philippines is a painful work in progress and it desperately needs the public’s help.

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Philippines, Sports, television

FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Air on ESPN5

The Philippines’ premier preseason tournament for college basketball has found a new home.

When the 12th edition of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup kicks off on April 21, it will have a new television partner. For this season, ESPN5, via T5N and AksyonTV, will broadcast a select number of games plus the entirety of the playoffs.

Here is the game schedule of the upcoming FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup. All games will take place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

All seniors teams of the UAAP and NCAA will participate in the tournament. However, the biggest surprise came when the cadets of the Gilas Pilipinas national team announced that it will join the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, with each of its games to be treated as official matches and not mere exhibitions.

This will mark the first time that ESPN5 will cover live Philippine college basketball games since the rebrand last year. Prior to that, the then-Sports5 was home to the NCAA seniors basketball tournament from Seasons 88 to 90 (2012-15); this does not include the 2016 CESAFI which aired on AksyonTV but produced by VIVA.

It will also mark the return of the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup to Philippine television for the first time since 2016. Last year none of its games were aired on television and were streamed live on Facebook instead.

While the games featuring the Gilas cadets will headline ESPN5’s coverage, it will also take a look at the legendary Ateneo-La Salle rivalry that will have new recruits getting their first taste of this long-running saga. In addition, old NCAA rivalries between San Beda and La Salle, and Ateneo and San Beda, will also be aired.

As for non-televised games, these are expected to air on the FilOil Flying V Sports’ Facebook page. Highlights of these games will also be featured on SportsCenter Philippines.

The FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup will run from April 21 to June 24.

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Philippines, Sports, television

With Loss of V-League, GMA’s Sports Hopes Disappear

It’s all but over for GMA in terms of sports.

This came after the Shakey’s V-League bolted to rival ABS-CBN earlier this week, leaving GMA without any sporting events to cover (unless one counts the boxing fights on GMA News TV’s ‘All Sports’ as an event). The new deal will see all of the games aired live on Sports+Action SD, HD and on livestream every Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays starting at 4:00 p.m.

GMA News TV had been the home of the Shakey’s V-League since 2013. When GMA inked a deal with the V-League and Sports Vision that year, it coincided with the sudden rise of volleyball in the country, capped off by a sold-out UAAP women’s volleyball final series between popular rivals Ateneo and La Salle.

Once the deal began, however, problems ensued. Games were still aired on a delayed basis, primarily due to News TV’s commitment to news programming, and although later tournaments saw live broadcasts, the lack of willingness from GMA and News TV proved hard to overcome.

In the end, the V-League allowed its contract with GMA to expire, and when it came time for a new television contract, they sought ABS-CBN Sports. It was a perfect fit, and with the latter having turned the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament into must-see TV, they are now expected to do the same for the V-League.

GMA’s lack of a sports division has been well-documented on From the Tube. As ABS-CBN and TV5 continued to make strides in airing some of the top sporting events in the country, GMA is left to lick their wounds wondering what might have been.

Considering their status as the No. 2 network in the country (sorry AGB Nielsen), GMA should have been keeping up with ABS-CBN in virtually every department. Instead, their lack of resources was exposed, and thanks to the impending return of ‘Encantadia’, expect more of their hidden revenue to go down the drain.

 

Now that the Shakey’s V-League is out of GMA, uncertainty looms in the northern corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue. A long, rainy season awaits for the Kapuso network, and without any big-name sporting events, the possibility of a GMA Sports division is now all but diminished.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Amid Fan Demand, UAAP Men’s Basketball Finally Schedules Primetime Games

A night game between La Salle and NU on September 13 marked yet another first in the history of UAAP men’s basketball. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

Welcome to primetime basketball, UAAP.

On September 13, the first night game in the history of UAAP men’s basketball took place inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The historic game pitted the De La Salle Green Archers and the National University Bulldogs, both of which went on to play in the season’s Final Four alongside the Ateneo Blue Eagles and FEU Tamaraws.

The historic night game was necessitated since the four teams on that day’s doubleheader were contending for a Final Four slot. With the stakes at its highest, and in anticipation of a possible sellout, the league decided to have two separate games on the same day instead of a traditional doubleheader, something they’ve been using during Ateneo-La Salle matches.

But instead of a morning and an afternoon game, the league experimented with a 2:00 p.m. game and a 6:00 p.m. game, in hopes of attracting more spectators. And on September 13, history was made in the UAAP.

Scheduling night games in Philippine college basketball is not a new concept. The NCAA experimented with this approach in Seasons 88 and 89, but abandoned it once TV5 joined alongside incumbent coveror and sister station AksyonTV in the coverage of the games.

Too bad few fans showed up to watch a primetime NCAA game, further compounding its issues in television coverage.

While the UAAP men’s basketball tournament is increasing in popularity, the league still needed something to spice up fan interest. This is where night games come to the picture.

Fortunately for coveror ABS-CBN Sports+Action, their scheduling flexibility allowed them to air this historic live match. And for the league’s legion of fans, the night game between La Salle and NU only adds to the UAAP’s growing popularity.

Tomorrow’s do-or-die Final Four matches (Ateneo vs. NU; La Salle vs. FEU) will again have a night game on the schedule. This time, however, three matches will be on the bill, thanks to the inclusion of the first game of the women’s basketball finals between FEU and NU.

In fact, all three games will be aired live on Sports+Action, furthering its commitment to the UAAP cause.

For a league that continues to grow with every season, the historic night of September 13, 2014 will always be remembered in UAAP annals. It was a night that the UAAP and its fans will never forget, and the legend will only rise from here.

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Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Must Prove UAAP is Here to Stay

The Ateneo-La Salle first round matchup will take place on July 20 at 11:00 a.m., presumably to allow ABS-CBN Channel 2 to broadcast the game. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN News.com)

UAAP Season 77 is four days away, but the bidding rights for Season 78 are already underway.

The men’s basketball tournament begins this July 12, marking the fifteenth season of the fruitful and lengthy relationship between the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports. However, the upcoming tournaments will be the first for ABS-CBN Sports+Action, formerly known as Studio 23, which was replaced in the middle of the previous season’s women’s volleyball tournament.

Entering the final year of the five-year contract signed in 2010, ABS-CBN made it clear that they will not stand pat and will do whatever it takes to keep the UAAP. And it became pretty evident when the revised UAAP schedule was released last week.

In the revised schedule, the highly anticipated Ateneo-La Salle duel was moved to July 20 from the original playdates of August 2 and July 19, and will be played at 11:00 a.m. The rescheduled game, according to observers, is aimed towards a potential live broadcast on Channel 2, the flagship channel of ABS-CBN.

Even though ABS-CBN 2 has aired the men’s basketball finals in the last five years (and the women’s volleyball final game last season), the VHF network has never aired a single Ateneo-La Salle match in men’s basketball. The game on July 20 could change all that.

Game-changing moves like this are no stranger to ABS-CBN Sports. Since becoming the broadcast partner of the UAAP in 2000, the network has made significant milestones over the years, some of which contribute to the league’s overwhelming popularity.

Whether it was the addition of student courtside reporters, the introduction of the Cheerdance Competition as a side event, the first-ever high definition television broadcasts, or Channel 2’s coverage of the men’s basketball finals, ABS-CBN’s shrewd moves at improving the UAAP coverage appear to pay off. And increasing attendance during games was the result of these moves.

But what will happen if the UAAP suddenly cut ties with ABS-CBN? For sure, there will be sweeping changes for the other coveror, which may threaten the consistent growth of the league.

Among those bidding for UAAP rights is TV5. The Kapatid network has been aggressively courting the UAAP for awhile now. However, they don’t have the attributes that ABS-CBN utilized in promoting the league. Worse, their scheduling issues with both the PBA and NCAA pose a great risk to their bid.

If ABS-CBN Sports wants to renew their rights with the UAAP, they must prove that the gains from last year are no fluke. During Season 76, the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball finals posted high ratings for the Kapamilya network, and virtually every game became a trending topic on social media sites.

The network also aired a ‘game of the week’ for men’s football and men’s volleyball, along with the finals of badminton, tennis, beach volleyball, baseball and softball, and various other events. In all, ABS-CBN gave the UAAP their most comprehensive coverage of the league’s games to date, and should give them the necessary inspiration for the upcoming season.

The UAAP on ABS-CBN Sports enters a pivotal moment in its 15-year history. For both parties, it is time to deliver their best performance yet.

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