Philippines, Sports, television

Sports5’s Disservice to the Philippine Superliga

 

The ongoing PSL Grand Prix has been hindered by the lack of full live coverage on AksyonTV, particularly during the 3:00 p.m. games. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine SuperLiga)

The ongoing PSL Grand Prix has been criticized for the lack of full live coverage on AksyonTV, particularly during the 3:00 p.m. games. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine SuperLiga)

Women’s volleyball in the Philippines is as popular as ever.

While the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament usually garners the biggest headlines from January to May, two other leagues also vie for the top spot in the sport’s hierarchy. On one corner is the 12-year-old Shakey’s V-League, and on the other corner is the FIVB-recognized Philippine SuperLiga.

Although the SVL has become a hot commodity of late with the entry of ABS-CBN Sports, the PSL also gained some traction thanks to its participation in the just-concluded FIVB Women’s Club World Championships. Unfortunately for the PSL, one obstacle prevented them from gaining the ultimate respect of volleyball fans.

That obstacle happens to be the league’s delayed coverage of select games on AksyonTV. The PSL usually schedules 3:00 p.m. games on a select number of dates, but for whatever reason, AksyonTV does not air the games live in favor of EZ Shop, a filler show whose broadcast is optional at best.

In contrast, Wednesday and Saturday 4:00 p.m. games of the SVL on S+A were aired on tape delay at 8:00 p.m. instead, due to conflicts with ABS-CBN Sports’ coverage of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament. Overall, ABS-CBN Sports had a valid excuse for their SVL coverage, whereas Sports5’s PSL coverage had no alibi to show for.

The non-coverage of select live PSL games only adds to the poor reputation of AksyonTV. Already criticized for its overreliance on TV shopping blocks and old news programs, AksyonTV’s unreliability only got worse with this snub.

At this point, the PSL may never catch up to the older SVL in terms of overall popularity. While the PSL does have the game’s first superstar in Rachel Ann Daquis and the championship core of the DLSU Lady Spikers, the SVL has Alyssa Valdez, the superstar whose charm and unparalleled power packed big arenas during her years as an Ateneo Lady Eagle.

That said, it is up to both Sports5 and PSL to work together and promote the league further. After all, they deserve a lot of respect from the volleyball community.

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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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