For the past few weeks, GMA has been replaying classic fights of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, which I think is unnecessary. And now GMA is not even willing to air a replay of the Pacquiao-Rios fight this Sunday night, and instead they gave the airtime to an Aljur Abrenica concert. It is a last-second decision that is undeserving and unfaithful to the network.
This is not the first time that GMA refused to schedule the same-day replay of a Pacquiao fight. From 2008-11, Pacquiao replays were aired on RPN 9, before it was reformatted to ETC. When Solar found no takers for a free TV replay, GMA stepped in and replayed the fights on either the main Channel 7 or News TV 11. However, after recent Pacquiao losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, GMA decided to again defer from airing the same-day replays and Solar was forced to look for a free TV partner.
At the last minute, IBC 13 stepped in to air the replay. The network, which recently ended its blocktime deal with TV5 last May, has a reputation for airing sports events, even introducing Manny Pacquiao to Filipino viewers in 1996. However, its signal quality will be put into question, so it remains to be seen how IBC would fare in airing the replay.
Meanwhile, GMA’s snub underscores its lack of purpose towards sports coverage. I have already written before about GMA’s lack of sports coverage, and their non-committal to a same-day Pacquiao replay was an example of their reluctance. They would have also moved the replay to GMA News TV, but they have previously committed to air the documentary on the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Instead the viewers who missed out have no choice but to watch the fight on IBC 13. And it’s a bad thing, because GMA has the wider reach and the superior signals, giving them a clear advantage. However, concerns on earnings and slumping ratings left the network with no option but to refuse a replay of the fight.
In the end, what GMA did is an act of cowardliness. Refusing to air an encore presentation of the Pacquiao-Rios fight was an example of how the Kapuso network had become: a cheap, inept and reckless network. And should Pacquiao lose, it will only add insult to injury for the management.