Philippines, Sports, television

Overview: NCAA Season 91 on ABS-CBN Sports

The NCAA Season 91 begins this Saturday, with San Beda trying to win an unprecedented sixth seniors’ title in a row. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

NCAA Season 91 is five days away.

The latest season of the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league will emanate from the Mall of Asia Arena, where the opening ceremonies and a seniors basketball doubleheader will kick things off. The doubleheader will pit defending champion San Beda versus season host Mapua, and Season 90 runner-up Arellano against perennial contender JRU.

It will also be a homecoming of sorts, as ABS-CBN Sports will once again handle the television broadcasts for the NCAA games. The said network recently inked a ten-year contract that would lead up to the league’s centennial season.

A new format for weekly games is also in order. Like last season, seven seniors games will be held per week, but the new scheme will now feature doubleheaders on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a tripleheader on Fridays.

Other than the opening doubleheaders, which are scheduled at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, all games in the first round will be held at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan. The second round schedule, to be released once the first round is finished, will feature most games in San Juan and may feature some marquee games at the MOA.

All of the aforementioned games will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, and will be simulcast in high definition on Balls HD. Online livestreaming of the games will also be available on sports.abs-cbn.com, while same-day replays will be aired in the evening on Balls.

ABS-CBN Sports will utilize the following on-air talents for the NCAA games (tentative as of June 23, 2015):

Play-by-play

  • Anton Roxas
  • Andrei Felix

Analysts

  • Martin Antonio
  • Migs Bustos
  • Mikee Reyes
  • Allan Gregorio
  • Olsen Racela

Courtside reporter

  • Myrtle Sarrosa

By all accounts, it seems that ABS-CBN Sports will be using TV5’s approach in handling games, at least for this season. But don’t expect Moneyball or some other gimmick to show up during ABS-CBN’s coverage.

The selection of Sarrosa as the sole courtside reporter was also an interesting decision by network management, since ABS-CBN Sports popularized the use of students as courtside reporters for their schools. But with the network short of time to prepare for the NCAA games, they decided to tap the ‘Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4’ winner instead.

In addition to seniors basketball, ABS-CBN Sports will also air highlights to the other NCAA disciplines. Finals of juniors basketball and the final four of women’s volleyball will likewise be aired.

The return of the NCAA to ABS-CBN Sports should help reestablish order and prominence within the league. It remains to be seen if the latter can improve the shortcomings that Sports5 endured, but from their previous experience covering the NCAA, they should do just fine.

NCAA Season 91 unwraps this Saturday at 12:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN Sports+Action, Balls HD and sports.abs-cbn.com.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television

NCAA Returns to ABS-CBN

After an unsuccessful three-year stint with TV5, the NCAA returns to ABS-CBN Sports starting with Season 91. (Photo credit: ABS-CBNNews.com)

The NCAA returns to an old friend.

It was announced that the NCAA will once again join forces with ABS-CBN Sports for the next ten years, beginning with Season 91 that is slated to open on June 27. This ends a rather unfruitful three-year partnership between the league and previous coveror TV5.

Under the terms of a new contract, ABS-CBN Sports+Action will air the NCAA seniors basketball games on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with a total of seven games a week. Most games will be at the FilOil Flying V Arena, while select marquee matchups will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

In addition, Sports+Action will air the playoffs of women’s volleyball, as well as short highlights of the league’s other sports. Overall, the ten-year deal between the NCAA and ABS-CBN is aimed at promoting, developing, building and stabilizing the NCAA in a sporting and marketing standpoint.

ABS-CBN Sports and the NCAA first joined forces in Season 78 (2002-03), with host San Beda College responsible for the deal. The initial partnership resulted in wider and more extensive game coverage for the league, whereas in prior years it only received fringe coverage in other networks.

The NCAA’s first foray with ABS-CBN Sports lasted for ten seasons. Then in Season 88, the league joined forces with Sports5, hoping to bring in additional televised games and attract more viewers in the process.

However, the league and Sports5 encountered numerous problems, such as constant scheduling changes, lack of marketing and promotion, and network assignments. TV5 also lacked the resources to improve its power, reach and accessibility, as well as adapting to new technologies such as online live-streaming.

That said, the marriage between TV5 and the NCAA was destined to fail. And it did.

Now that the NCAA has returned to ABS-CBN Sports, fans can only hope that the latter will deliver the little things that TV5 failed to do. The long-term contract between the two parties should help the NCAA grow not only as a league, but as a brand, something ABS-CBN Sports was able to do with the UAAP.

The NCAA on ABS-CBN Sports begins this June 27. Good luck.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television

The Super Liga Is Now on Sports5

The Philippine Super Liga will have a new partner in Sports5. (Photo credit: Business Mirror)

After a two-year partnership with Solar Sports, the Philippine Super Liga decided to switch gears for the benefit of free TV viewers.

Starting this season, the PSL will be seen exclusively on Sports5’s free TV outlets. Most games will be aired live on AksyonTV, with select games to be simulcast on TV5.

Sports5 is no stranger to airing the PSL. During the volleyball league’s first season, a select number of playoff games were aired on the Sports5 channels, with Solar Sports then responsible for the production.

This time around, however, every game will be produced by the Sports5 team. The move to free TV should benefit not only the viewers, the fans and the volleyball community, but also the league itself, as it aims to sustain the growth and popularity of women’s volleyball in the country.

The 2015 PSL All-Filipino Conference will kick off this Saturday, March 21. Six teams will participate in the tournament: Cignal HD, Petron Blaze, Philips Gold, Shopinas.com, Foton, and Mane ‘N Tail.

Most games of the tournament will be held at the two Pasay City venues: Mall of Asia Arena and the Cuneta Astrodome. A few other games will be held outside Metro Manila, all for the benefit of provincial fans.

A new season should bring bigger opportunities, and for the Philippine Super Liga, a move to free TV will mean a lot to the league’s growth and success.

UPDATE: The Philippine Super Liga will continue to air on Solar Sports, with live games on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The games on the Sports5 channels will feature Taglish commentary, while the games on Solar Sports will feature English commentary. However, Solar Sports will now carry the Sports5 feed, similar to the arrangement made during PBA games in both Sports5 and Fox Sports Philippines. 

Standard
live events, Philippines, Sports, television

Another Five Years for the UAAP on ABS-CBN Sports

Record crowds like last October’s NU-FEU UAAP men’s basketball title match were a key reason why the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports decided to renew their existing broadcast deal. (Photo credit: ABS-CBNNews.com)

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

As expected, the UAAP decided to renew its existing broadcast rights deal with ABS-CBN Sports for another five years. The extended contract will begin starting Season 78 (2015-16) and will last through Season 82 (2019-20).

This will ensure that the partnership between the UAAP and ABS-CBN will reach its 20th year once it wraps up its newest contract, making it the longest tenured broadcast deal among the current sports leagues in the country.

The latest contract extension was not without any obstacles, however. Back in February, TV5’s sports division (Sports5) submitted a letter of intent to the UAAP board with regards to the league’s television broadcasts.

Sports5 would have been a great partner for the UAAP. Unfortunately, their poor handling of the NCAA broadcasts, not to mention the lack of extensive promotion and coverage in sports other than basketball, proved to be a hindrance that is too much to overcome.

The decision to renew the existing contract was based on the league’s recent spike in popularity. Leading the way are men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, which continues to be the focus of attention in ABS-CBN’s coverage.

True to form, both disciplines attracted record crowds during the past few years, especially during the championship series. In fact, in the last three title deciders in either men’s basketball or women’s volleyball, over 20,000 spectators packed both the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena.

Even more impressive was the fact that ABS-CBN Sports began to show weekly live coverage of men’s football and men’s volleyball via Balls HD 167, with the said sports continuing to air on tape-delay via ABS-CBN Sports+Action. As the new contract gets underway, expect an even more extensive coverage of other UAAP sports, in various platforms.

That said, the renewal of broadcast rights between the UAAP and ABS-CBN Sports should only further the league’s increasing popularity. The UAAP may now be more popular than ever before, but without the help of ABS-CBN Sports, it may have never achieved the blockbuster success that it has enjoyed today.

Standard
entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

TV5 Airs One Game of NCAA Final Four. And It Sucks.

The NCAA Final Four begins tomorrow, but only one game will air on TV5. (Photo credit: Inquirer.net)

The NCAA Season 90 men’s basketball Final Four begins tomorrow, but TV5 will continue to air just one game. ONE!

The second Final Four game between the second-seeded Arellano Chiefs and the third-seeded JRU Heavy Bombers will be the only game airing on the main TV5 network. Meanwhile, the first game between the top-seeded San Beda Red Lions and the fourth-seeded Perpetual Help Altas will be relegated to AksyonTV.

Both games will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena starting at 2:00 p.m.

Having reached the critical point of the season, it is expected that TV5 will air both games of the NCAA Final Four, considering its importance. But as it turned out, old habits do die hard for the Kapatid network.

Consider this: from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., TV5 airs Tagalized foreign films under the ‘Movie Max 5’ banner. That means for over 2 1/2 hours, the Kapatid network is airing nothing but movies that have been aired over and over again by HBO, Star Movies, and other free TV networks.

So much for being bored.

The only times that the 1:30-4:00 p.m. window became relevant was when important sports events took place. Such was the case during the recently-concluded Youth Olympic Games, FIBA World Cup and Asian Games.

That said, it would have helped TV5 if both games were to air. Instead, they balked at this opportunity, and as a result, a movie will air on the aforementioned timeslot rather than a Final Four game.

The increasing tension between TV5 and the NCAA can no longer be ignored. Three years of timeslot and channel changes, questionable scheduling and personnel decisions, unnecessary gimmicks, lack of promotion by the former, and controversial events such as the Mapua-EAC brawl, are beginning to take its toll on the relationship between the two parties.

And this latest programming decision by TV5 only compounds an already deteriorating situation.

Tomorrow, four NCAA teams will face off to determine a pair of Finals berths. But with TV5 airing just one game, don’t expect anything from their Final Four broadcasts.

Standard
entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

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.

Standard