Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Balls Bids Farewell, Plus UFC Moves to Sports5

Balls will air for the final time on December 31, 2015, and most sporting content will be transferred to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action the following day. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs, Inc./ABS-CBN)

Balls’ days are numbered.

SkyCable announced that Balls will cease to air after December 31, 2015, ending a seven-year run. The permanent sign-off of Balls will involve both its standard definition (channel 34) and high definition (channel 195) feeds.

 

Most sports programming on Balls will be moved to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action starting next year. An HD counterpart of the latter network will also be launched.

Debuting on January 1, 2008, Balls became the home to some of the world’s top sporting events, ranging from UEFA and FIFA soccer competitions to FIVB tournaments. It also aired both the French Open and U.S. Open tennis, as well as European Tour and Asian Tour golf.

Balls made history on July 16, 2009 when it launched Balls HD, the first-ever Filipino HD television channel. The channel aired both the UAAP and NCAA tournaments, as well as a select few international tournaments.

But perhaps Balls’ biggest claim to fame was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The premier mixed martial arts organization began airing on Balls in 2009, and the latter was credited with popularizing the UFC in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, with Balls about to leave the airwaves, it is clear that ABS-CBN Sports has no intention of keeping the UFC rights. As a result, the broadcast rights of UFC will be moved to Sports5 starting next year.

Sports5’s plan is to air the UFC live on the Cignal-exclusive Hyper channel, with delayed broadcasts on TV5. However, it remains to be seen if fight fans will respond well to the change, considering that Hyper is still a work in progress and is not as well-known as its competitors.

That said, it’s up to Sports5 to reinforce Hyper with more well-known sporting events. The UFC may be a good way to start, but it’s not enough to put them on top just yet.

As for ABS-CBN Sports, the time to sort out the mess is now. With Balls going off the air, ABS-CBN Sports+Action has a bigger dilemma ahead of them.

 

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Philippines, Sports, television

PBA, UAAP to Face Off Starting Sunday

The PBA Philippine Cup begins this Sunday, with the San Miguel Beermen trying to defend the crown. The early games of the tournament will go head-to-head with the ongoing UAAP men’s basketball eliminations. (Photo credit: Businessworld)

The PBA and the UAAP will cross paths on the small screen once more.

For the first time, the opening day of the PBA Philippine Cup will take place while the UAAP men’s basketball eliminations are still ongoing. This was made possible by the latter’s most recent calendar change.

Previously, the UAAP men’s basketball tournament was played from July to October. But with most member schools adjusting their calendar to be at par with other foreign institutions, the UAAP decided to move its season opening to September, and with it rescheduled the basketball season from September to November.

This means that the elimination round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament will now have to compete with the PBA Philippine Cup once the latter opens in October*. Both leagues primarily play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena; thus, they need to agree in advance on the availability of both venues.

Sunday’s PBA Philippine Cup opener at the Big Dome will feature the customary opening ceremony, followed by a game between the Star Hotshots and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. On the same day, the UAAP will hold a men’s basketball twinbill at MOA, pitting UE and UP, and La Salle and FEU.

The PBA games will be aired on TV5, AksyonTV and Sports5.PH, with a radio broadcast on Radyo5 stations. The UAAP games are currently seen on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 195, iWanTV and ABS-CBN Sports official website.

* The UAAP men’s basketball games previously took place alongside PBA import-laden tournaments (e.g. Fiesta Conference, Governors’ Cup).

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, live events, news, Philippines, public affairs, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Continues Transition to HD

ABS-CBN officially launched its new HD channel last Saturday, part of a continuing transition to digital high definition television for the network. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN’s conversion to high definition continues.

On Saturday, the network officially launched ABS-CBN HD, the first-ever HD free TV channel in the Philippines. It is currently available on Channel 167 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 700 for provincial subscribers.

Viewers with a high-definition digibox can enjoy some of ABS-CBN’s most popular programs in crystal clear HD. As of this article, only ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Wansapanatym’, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, ‘ASAP’ and Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida teleseryes are currently shot with HD cameras, with other programming to follow suit.

ABS-CBN began to experiment with high definition television when it launched Balls HD in 2009. The channel’s launch coincided with the opening of UAAP Season 72, which became the first local event to be broadcast in high definition.

Two years later, ‘Budoy’ became the network’s first teleserye to be shot with HD cameras, which was then followed by the network’s other dramas. And just two weeks ago, ‘ASAP’ became the first non-drama program on the network to be shot with HD cameras.

All in all, ABS-CBN’s forays with high-definition and other technologies were signs that the network is seriously preparing for the conversion to digital television here in the Philippines. Not bad for the pioneering television network which was established in 1953.

With the launch of ABS-CBN HD, let’s just hope that in the near future, the other networks will follow suit. This will not be an easy task for the other local networks, but with digitization fast approaching, time is definitely of the essence.

Note: Balls HD, which formerly occupied Channel 167, is now assigned to Channel 195 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 701 for provincial subscribers. ABS-CBN HD can also be seen on iWanTV.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, Sports, television

UAAP Cheerdance Expected To Be Overshadowed by AlDub-Pastillas Battle

The NU Cheering Squad will try to win their third consecutive title in tomorrow’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The beginning of the event will be up against the highly-trended AlDub and Pastillas Girl skits. (Photo credit: GMA News)

The ever-popular UAAP Cheerdance Competition will now face some tough odds this year.

The 22nd edition of the event will now be held in the middle of the men’s basketball tournament, unlike in previous years where it was held at its conclusion. In addition, the event will be held on a Saturday, as opposed to Sundays in past editions.

This means that the Cheerdance Competition will now have to take place on a day when some member schools still hold classes. But that’s not the only problem the event will face.

The early portion of the Cheerdance Competition will take place while noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Eat Bulaga’ are still ongoing.  The highly-trending Pastillas Girl and AlDub skits are expected to make life tough for viewers of this year’s Cheerdance Competition, especially considering the combined 37 million tweets of both skits last Saturday.

This does not mean that this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition will no longer be a juggernaut for netizens everywhere. With the help of a livestreaming service provided by ABS-CBN, there is still a possibility that the event would end up in Twitter’s trending topics.

After all, whenever the Cheerdance Competition takes place, there are four things that the viewers will always point out in this event:

  • courtside reporters in cheering attire
  • elaborate props and risky maneuvers
  • a beautiful guest host
  • suspense and uncertainty of announcing the top three finishers

That said, a good challenge awaits the UAAP Cheerdance Competition this year. More than the performance of the eight cheering squads, the event is about making an impact amid all the odds stacked against it.

The 2015 UAAP Cheerdance Competition will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena. It will air on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD 195, iWanTV and ABS-CBN Sports official website beginning at 1:00 p.m.

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