Philippines, Sports, television

Too Much for TV: Why MPBL’s Sudden Expansion Will Be Burdensome to the League

From the ‘Original 10’ to the ‘New 16’.

A total of 16 new teams will join 10 holdovers for the upcoming MPBL Datu Cup that will start this June. The ‘New 16’ will include seven teams from Metro Manila, four teams from Luzon, one team from Visayas, and four teams from Mindanao.

The new teams are:

  • Bacoor Strikers
  • Basilan Shooters
  • Cebu City Sharks
  • Davao Occidental Tigers
  • GenSan Warriors
  • Laguna Heroes
  • Makati Skyscrapers
  • Mandaluyong El Tigre
  • Manila Stars
  • Marikina Shoemasters
  • Pampanga Lanterns
  • Pasay Voyagers
  • Pasig Pirates
  • Rizal Ankle Breakers
  • San Juan Knights
  • Zamboanga Valientes

They will join the ‘Original 10’ teams that first competed in the MPBL Anta Rajah Cup, all of which are based within Luzon. The tournament, which ran from January to April of this year, was won by the Tanduay Batangas City Athletics.

But with the sudden addition of 16 new teams comes a new dilemma for Arnold Vegafria’s ALV Productions. The producer of the MPBL games on ABS-CBN S+A will now have to deal with increased scheduling, travel and production expenses, although for now the non-Luzon teams will not have any home games due to logistical concerns.

In the upcoming Datu Cup, 25 games will be played among the 26 teams. Since the Philippines does not have regional sports networks similar to those in the U.S., the MPBL will be forced to add more game days and stretch the duration of the tournament so that it will run for almost the entire year (barring holidays and weather disturbances).

This means that S+A, the network partner of the league, may have to deal with near-daily doubleheaders all year round. But with so many new teams and games to air, S+A might not be able to fully commit with the MPBL given its coverage of other events such as the ONE Championship and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Such a long tournament may also take its toll on the fans. While the MPBL managed to sell out games regularly during the Anta Rajah Cup, the Datu Cup could see some semblance of unpredictability attendance-wise, and if the MPBL is not careful in dealing with the lengthy schedule, it could lose some of its audience.

This will be a huge test for S+A, ALV and the MPBL to see if expansion will reap some benefits. It will not be easy for either one of them to deal, so each must play a key role in managing this tournament well.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part IV)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part IPart II and Part III of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part IV of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: PBA at Philippine Arena

The final three games of the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals were held at the Philippine Arena. Not surprisingly, the venue was packed to the rafters, thanks in large part to the presence of crowd favorite and defending champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

Ginebra went on to defeat the Meralco Bolts in seven games, with Game 7 becoming the highest-attended PBA game ever with over 54,000 spectators. The victory also gave San Miguel Corporation a perfect 3-for-3 in terms of championships in the 2016-17 PBA season, with the San Miguel Beermen having conquered both the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup as well.

NOT: ESPN5

TV5 started 2017 by defiantly telling viewers to ‘choose courage’ in their station ID. By the end of the year, however, courage turned to cowardice as Chot Reyes gradually turned TV5 into a sports-oriented network and stripped whatever’s left of the station’s content.

The final straw came in October when TV5 signed a deal with ESPN to rename its sports division into ESPN5. Since then, the collaboration purchased the broadcast rights to the National Football League and U.S. NCAA college basketball to go along with local sports such as the PBA and the Philippine SuperLiga.

HOT: International Football on S+A

Already with the rights to the NBA, UAAP, NCAA, FIFA football, ABL and ONE Championship among other sports, ABS-CBN Sports acquired another big fish late in the year thanks to a collaboration with beIN Sport and Triple CH. The deal brought in the Premier League, La Liga and the UEFA Champions League to S+A.

The acquisition is, in many ways, beneficial to Filipino football fans who are craving to watch some of the world’s top footballers like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for free. However, with football having one of the most expensive broadcast rights in the world, it remains to be seen if ABS-CBN Sports’ risk will become a reward.

NOT: PFL on PTV-4

Suffice to say, the inaugural season of the Philippines Football League did not work out on the television side. The league faced plenty of problems with coveror PTV-4, namely weather postponements and the unexpected live broadcasts of President Rodrigo Duterte’s speeches.

By August the PFL suddenly disappeared from television as it became fed up with PTV-4’s presidential priorities. With the first season already complete, perhaps the time is now to find a new broadcast partner for next season.

HOT: NBA on ABS-CBN

2017 was a surprisingly productive year for ABS-CBN’s NBA coverage. Beginning with the 2017 playoffs, S+A aired NBA games every day up until the finals, with a few dates reserved for doubleheaders.

Once the finals began, ABS-CBN Sports employed a simulcast on both Channel 2 and S+A. The former featured commentary from Boom Gonzales and TJ Manotoc live from the U.S. while the latter used the feed featuring ESPN announcers Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Doris Burke.

ABS-CBN also made NBA games available on S+A’s HD platform, which was previously separate and distinct from its SD counterpart. However, ABS-CBN’s surprise increase in NBA game coverage was just a reprieve for SkyCable subscribers, no thanks in part to a brewing controversy.

NOT: Solar Entertainment/SkyCable Controversy

It was deja vu all over again as Solar Entertainment pulled out its cable channels from SkyCable amid furor over NBA broadcast rights. The network claimed that ABS-CBN owed them millions of pesos for the rights to carry Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV.

The conflict remains unresolved as of now due to conflicting statements between the two parties. This left angry NBA fans with no choice but to switch over to other cable and satellite outlets or subscribe to NBA League Pass.

HOT: Sports News Programs on TV

2017 saw two new sports news programs debut on Philippine television. In January, the ABS-CBN News Channel premiered ‘Gametime’ with Migs Bustos at the helm, while in December, ESPN5 brought in ‘SportsCenter Philippines’ with Aaron Atayde, Lia Cruz, Magoo Marjon and Amanda Fernandez as its anchors.

Meanwhile, CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’ lost one of its pillars as Mico Halili announced his departure from the network amid rumors of a reorganization. Finally, PTV-4 announced that PTV Sports would return as a standalone program after nearly a year’s absence, with Dennis Principe once again at the helm alongside Meg Siozon and Angel Atienza.

NOT: WWE on FOX

Carriage issues also got in the way of WWE programming on FOX Philippines’ family of networks as it announced that they would cease ties with the wresting promotion after a six-year run. This was due to the two parties’ inability to agree on a renewal.

Shortly thereafter, TV5 announced that they would air WWE programs on their networks, but so far, only the condensed edition of SmackDown is currently on their lineup. As for Raw, the commercial-free 90-minute edition was made available on WWE’s YouTube page (for Philippine viewers only) while other programs can be seen via the WWE Network service.

Summary and Outlook

Overall, 2017 was both a challenge and an experience for media in the Philippines. Longstanding issues and pressing concerns were all over the place as each network tried its best to resolve each and every one of them.

Looking ahead to 2018, there are still plenty more challenges to conquer and some new tasks to take. The evolution in media does not stop here and From the Tube will continue to bring in the latest news in the world of broadcasting come next year.

In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, hits, humor, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, Sports, talent show, television

FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part III)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part III of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

Pinoy Boyband Superstar Answers To the Top

Last year, GMA created its own reality talent show for up-and-coming Filipino boybands, ‘To the Top’. This year, ABS-CBN struck back by bringing the ‘La Banda’ franchise to the Philippines under the name ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’.

Unfortunately for GMA, the popularity of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ far exceeded ‘To the Top’. The former constantly gained ratings of 30% or better while airing at a more convenient timeslot of 6:50 p.m., whereas the latter only mustered around 7-8% ratings while airing at a not-so attractive timeslot of 9:45-10:00 p.m.

Despite the success of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’, it remains to be seen if BoybandPH can become a more popular boyband than Top One Project ever was. That said, the key to both boybands at this point is to outsell each other in order to win the hearts of fans.

Delamar Leaves RX 93.1’s The Morning Rush

‘The Morning Rush’ on Monster RX 93.1 is an institution in Philippine FM radio, having aired continuously for over two decades. So when Delamar Arias decided to leave both the show and the station on July 29, listeners, or ‘rushers’, were stunned.

After all, Delamar, along with long-time partner Chico Garcia and recent addition Gino Quillamor, were instrumental in the show’s success, with the ‘Top 10’ segment becoming the most popular segment. Her departure left a glaring hole on ‘The Morning Rush’, one they have struggled to fill since.

Delamar was not the only high-profile departure from the station. A few weeks later, Bea Fabregas left RX to focus on hosting FOX Sports Philippines’ ‘Fox Sports Minute’ and ‘The GOAT’, while Karen Bordador was arrested for alleged drug possession and was de facto removed from the station.

The Launch of PBA Rush, Plus UFC on TV5 and Olympic Coverage

If Solar Entertainment has NBA Premium TV, then TV5 has its own channel for the PBA in PBA Rush. Launched prior to the 2016 Governors’ Cup, PBA Rush is considered the Filipino version of NBA TV, featuring live and archived PBA games plus special programs dedicated to the league.

The timing of PBA Rush’s launch couldn’t have come at an important time, as that year’s Governors’ Cup saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel end an eight-year title drought at the expense of the Meralco Bolts. Ginebra’s win would have concluded PBA’s run with TV5, but instead the partnership between the two was renewed in time for the ongoing Philippine Cup.

TV5 also made a high-profile acquisition when it purchased the broadcast rights to the UFC, promising it to air live on its HYPER channel. Unfortunately, TV5’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was a difficult one, as the network struggles to deal with its decline in programming quality.

Other Sports Stories on TV

ABS-CBN Sports replaced the UFC by focusing on local and regional mixed martial arts, namely the Alvin Aguilar-led URCC, and the Southeast Asia-based One Championship. They also brought in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) as part of its continued commitment to local and regional sports.

Solar Sports dabbled into collegiate basketball by airing the NAASCU, while IBC-13 and AksyonTV aired the UCBL and CESAFI tournaments respectively. However, the biggest draws remain the NCAA and the UAAP, where the San Beda Red Lions and the De La Salle Green Archers won their respective championships.

Finally, in women’s volleyball, ABS-CBN Sports acquired the rights to the Shakey’s V-League, beginning a contentious rivalry between the V-League and the TV5-aired Philippine SuperLiga.

Be My Lady Reigns, Ryzza Mae’s Run Ends

‘Be My Lady’, topbilled by real-life couple Erich Gonzales and Daniel Matsunaga,was the top draw at the pre-noontime slot for much of this year. Airing for 221 episodes from January 18 to November 25, the series earned ratings of nearly 20%, besting the competition in the process.

The aforementioned competition included a pair of shows starring Ryzza Mae Dizon: ‘Princess in the Palace’, and ‘Calle Siete’. But with Ryzza already entering the pre-teen stage of her life, it was clear that she was no longer the charmingly cute presence of years past.

In the end, TAPE decided to cease starring her on the pre-noontime slot beginning October 24, and gave the BAES (along with Taki Sato) of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a lead role in ‘TROPS’.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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