Philippines, Sports, television

Barely Recognizable: PBA News Seldom Mentioned in Other Networks

Hardly mentioned: News surrounding the PBA is a seldom occurrence in ABS-CBN and GMA newscasts. (Photo credit: Philippine Basketball Association)

News surrounding the Philippine Basketball Association is hard to come by these days.

Once one of the Philippines’ national pastimes, the league has fallen on hard times in recent years due to a bevy of controversies. Nowadays, the PBA is barely mentioned at all in  TV networks outside ESPN5, a byproduct of declining interest that has alarmed the league of late.

One network, in particular, has repeatedly shunned the PBA when it comes to sports news. Enter ABS-CBN and its family of networks.

In ABS-CBN’s most recent year-end sports report, there was not even a single mention about the PBA. The network, in particular, failed to account the 50,000 or so crowd that saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel win Game 7 of the Governors’ Cup finals over the Meralco Bolts, or the two championships won by the San Miguel Beermen last season, or the Christian Standhardinger-Chito Narvasa controversy.

It has been a pattern that is constant for the past several years. Instead of the PBA, ABS-CBN’s TV newscasts focused more on its sports properties such as the UAAP, NCAA, NBA and ABL, as well as national teams such as the Gilas basketball team and the Azkals football team.

In fairness, ANC’s Hardball, DZMM’s Fastbreak and ABS-CBN’s sports and news websites always make up for the newscasts’ oversight by mentioning and even talking about the PBA in greater detail. But even that is not enough to slap some sense in ABS-CBN’s mindset.

Now what about GMA? While they also report about the PBA on their news websites, they also do not mention the league’s news on their newscasts, and worse, they barely care about the world of sports at all since they do not even have a sports division.

Which leaves us to the only two networks that do take a look at the PBA on a regular basis: PTV-4’s ‘PTV Sports’ and CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’. Much like the PBA, they are hardly recognizable in the viewers’ consciousness, but at least they are doing their best to cover the league’s latest news with consistency and detail.

But for the two network giants in South Triangle, not mentioning the PBA on television is an disgrace to the league. Yes its popularity may have slipped of late due to these internal issues, but the PBA is still an important part of the Filipino sporting landscape and something needs to be done to rekindle the league’s interests.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

UFL Unveils New TV Schedule

UFL matches will now be seen from Tuesdays to Fridays at 8:00 p.m. on AksyonTV.

After a brief break in the action due to the Philippine Azkals’ participation in the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, the United Football League resumes Division I action tonight at Taguig’s Emperador Stadium. However, the league will now have a new TV schedule thanks to a new agreement between the UFL and Sports5.

Under the new schedule, UFL games will now be seen from Tuesday to Friday at 8:00 p.m. on AksyonTV. However, only the second Tuesday and Thursday matches will be seen live, while the opening matches on those days will be seen on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Saturday fixtures will remain non-televised.

The new UFL broadcast deal came after the league and AksyonTV were criticized for prioritizing the UFL broadcasts over the Philippine Basketball Association. During the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, the first game of Tuesday doubleheaders were not aired live due to the UFL matches, forcing irate basketball fans to vent their anger on social media.

As a result, Sports5 was forced to prioritize the 5:30 p.m. broadcasts of PBA games on AksyonTV, beginning with the Commissioner’s Cup. However, this also led to late-night telecasts of UFL games, with some of them airing at 10:00 p.m. or later.

UFL President Randy Roxas believes that by promoting the UFL games into a ‘nighttime habit’, they hope that the league’s fanbase will grow. And the UFL’s new schedule should benefit football fans coming from work, since the 5:00 p.m. matches may pose a problem to their hectic schedules.

The UFL, a young and promising football league, has a long way to go in terms of quality and popularity. A four-day weekly broadcast over AksyonTV should help matters.

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news, Philippines, reality show, Sports, talk show, television

Introducing ABS-CBN Sports + Action

ABS-CBN Sports + Action will make its on-air debut tomorrow, replacing Studio 23.

Channel 23 on the UHF band has a new name. It was announced during a press conference in Makati yesterday morning that the name of the said channel will be called ABS-CBN Sports + Action, and the programming content will feature mostly sports, with occasional sprinkling of news and action series in between.

The new network will officially debut tomorrow. And as a preview of things to come, Channel 23 is currently airing replays of sporting events that occurred in the past year, along with a delayed broadcast of the UEFA Champions League and UAAP men’s football.

ABS-CBN Sports + Action will air a wide variety of sporting events, ranging from the UAAP, Philippine Azkals, Pinoy Pride and Top Rank Boxing to the NBA, UEFA, UFC and the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup. In addition, they will also produce a 15-minute sports roundup called ‘The Score’, and a 30-minute discussion-based newscast called ‘News +’.

Carrying over from Studio 23 are action-based drama series such as ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and ‘NCIS’, as well as the movies from Fernando Poe, Jr.’s film library and WWE programs. The network will also dabble into reality programming with ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.

With the unveiling of ABS-CBN Sports + Action, viewers can expect a lot of sports coverage from all corners. And it should also serve notice to other competitors who will try to emulate the new style of the said network.

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drama, entertainment, movies, music, news, Philippines, Sports, television

The End of Studio 23

Left: Studio 23’s ‘Premium Network’ logo from 1996-2010. Right: Studio 23’s ‘IbaKabarkada’ logo from 2010-14.

Studio 23 has announced that it will sign off for the last time this Friday. Replacing the Kabarkada channel will be an unnamed sports channel that will begin operations the next day. But before the change becomes official, here is a look back at the network’s history.

Debuting on October 12, 1996 as a primetime-only block, Studio 23 was first utilized by ABS-CBN as its answer to GMA’s then-sister station Citynet 27. The network would make its own niche in 1998 when it started to air the Metropolitan Basketball Association, the first sports event produced by the soon-to-be ABS-CBN Sports division. By 2001, Studio 23 became a full-fledged network after MTV was dropped in favor of MYX, and ruled the UHF television landscape after the demise of Citynet 27.

It was the acquisition of the UAAP broadcast rights, however, that changed Studio 23 forever. The network began to air UAAP men’s basketball in 2000, and soon after, Studio 23 gradually veered away from the foreign canned programs in favor of their own productions. The shift of content was evident midway through the 2000s, when Studio 23 began to carry the ‘Kabarkada Mo’ slogan, emphasizing its programming focus towards the youth and young adult demographics.

In 2010, Studio 23 not only adopted a new logo, but also changed programming once more. Filipino is now used to dub some of the foreign programs. The all-English ‘News Central’ was replaced by the all-Filipino newscast ‘IbaBalita’. And in a preview of things to come, more sports events were added, such as the NBA, UEFA and Philippine Azkals soccer, WWE, UFC and Top Rank Boxing.

Which leads us to January 17, 2014. Throughout this week two different teasers currently air: one to say farewell and thanks to Studio 23, and another to welcome the upcoming all-sports channel. And based on the teasers, it is clear that the objective of ABS-CBN is to expand and develop its sports properties to a wider audience.

By Saturday, the new name of Channel 23 will be officially unveiled. But for now, we say goodbye to Studio 23 and its 17 years of ruling the UHF television landscape. Thanks for all the memories.

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