Philippines, Sports, television

With NCAA Out, TV5 Focuses on International Multi-Sport Events

Coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games will be held exclusively by Sports5. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The loss of NCAA rights did not stop TV5 from pursuing other sporting events.

Starting today, TV5’s family of channels will have a live and exclusive coverage of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore. The SEA Games will be aired on three different platforms: VHF channel TV5, UHF channel AksyonTV 41 and livestreaming site Sports5.ph.

A majority of the coverage will be dedicated to the Philippine national teams, with major focus on the country’s basketball, volleyball and football teams. Sports5 will also provide highlights to the country’s other teams, such as athletics, boxing and swimming.

While the opening ceremonies will take place on June 5, preliminaries of events such as football, netball and table tennis will get underway today. Both the opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the Singapore National Stadium, which will also host the athletics and football events.

In the previous SEA Games at Myanmar two years ago, the Philippines endured its worst performance of the event, finishing a paltry seventh in the medal round. Much of the blame is centered on Myanmar’s inclusion of indigenous sports in lieu of other well-known disciplines, forcing the country to send a smaller-than-expected delegation.

The poor performance of the country was further justified by the lack of extensive coverage by previous coveror ABS-CBN Sports (via Studio 23), who only covered basketball, football and boxing. The reluctance and eventual unwillingness of ABS-CBN Sports to extensively cover the event marked the low point of the SEA Games on Philippine television.

With ABS-CBN Sports now focusing more on college sports such as the UAAP and the recently-acquired NCAA, TV5 decided to further its portfolio towards international multi-sporting events. And the SEA Games became their latest coup.

The acquisition of the SEA Games, along with prior additions such as the Olympics and the Asian Games, gave Sports5 the three most important events in the calendar of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Not since the early 2000s had the rights to these three events belonged to one network.

That said, it is now up to TV5 to bring back a sense of pride and honor to the Filipino athlete. This year’s SEA Games should be a proving ground for the Philippines to regain its place among Southeast Asia’s best.

The 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore will be held from June 5-16.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

1995 Flashback: The Beginning of the End for PTV’s Sports Coverage

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

Sports coverage on the People’s Television Network (PTV-4) was at its peak in 1995.

That year, PTV was the major broadcast home for the following events:

  • PBA 21st season (co-produced with Vintage Sports)
  • Chiang Mai Southeast Asian Games
  • UAAP Season 58 men’s basketball (co-produced with Silverstar Sports)
  • Philippine Basketball League
  • NCAA Season 71 men’s basketball (albeit sparingly)

Of the five events, the coverage of the Philippine Basketball Association was PTV’s biggest asset. After all, the PBA was at its peak of popularity during the PTV years, with sellout crowds a regular occurrence at the ULTRA (later PhilSports Arena) and later on at the Cuneta Astrodome.

But in 1995, all that would change in the blink of an eye.

(The final two minutes of PTV-4’s PBA coverage on December 19, 1995.)

As it turned out, the 21st PBA season would be the last to air on Channel 4 for nearly a decade. That season saw a near-grandslam for the Sunkist Orange Juicers, in which they won the All-Filipino and Commissioner’s Cups, only to finish third in the Governors’ Cup won by the following season’s Grand Slam winners, the Alaska Milkmen.

At this point, the PBA’s popularity was fading, despite returning to the now-Smart Araneta Coliseum after nearly a decade away. Thus, after the conclusion of the 21st season, Vintage decided to move the PBA coverage from PTV to the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), where they would drastically change their coverage in hopes of attracting the masses.

PTV’s sports portfolio gradually declined in the years following the loss of PBA coverage (the PBA did return to the renamed National Broadcasting Network in a failed partnership with IBC-13 in 2002).  Massive operating losses, along with competition from cable networks, forced Channel 4 to let go of broadcast rights to leagues such as the UAAP, and events such as the SEA Games and the Olympics.

Even though PTV Sports remained active through their coverage of lesser-known events, it is clear that they’re no longer a force in sports coverage. Today, PTV’s programming is more akin to a non-profit public broadcasting network, where they produce programs with little or no commercial support.

While the PBA is currently enjoying renewed popularity with Sports5, the years with PTV-4 will always be remembered as the glory days of the league. And even after the PBA left PTV for other networks in 1995, Channel 4’s partnership with the league will never be forgotten.

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