Philippines, Sports, television

Sports5’s Doubtful and Desperate Future

The ‘Road to Rio’ will be a bumpy one, as TV5 essentially sacrificed its entire programming lineup just for the coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics. This year’s Olympics could decide the future of Sports5 as well. (Photo credit: PhilStar.com)

These are indeed desperate times for TV5.

It has been over a month since the Kapatid network ‘demolished’ (for the lack of a better term) almost its entire programming lineup in favor of unlimited ‘foreignoy’ movies and home shopping blocks. And while their decision may seem ridiculous, they were essentially preparing this demolition job for one particular event.

Enter the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The Summer Olympics in Rio will be the fourth such event for TV5, following the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing. As early as now, TV5 is going all out, because as far as they were concerned, this could be their last chance to prove their worth as a force in Philippine sports.

Anyone who has followed TV5 over the years know how much a sports fan Manny V. Pangilinan is. The businessman is best known in the sports world as:

  • owner of three PBA teams (Tropang TNT, Meralco Bolts, NLEX Road Warriors)
  • bankroller of two collegiate teams (Ateneo Blue Eagles, San Beda Red Lions)
  • one-time president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas
  • benefactor of Gilas Pilipinas

His work on TV5 was also an extensive one. Between 2011 and 2012, the Kapatid network snared the rights to several top-flight events, which include the following:

  • Philippine Basketball Association
  • United Football League
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (Philippines)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (United States)
  • Olympic Games
  • National Football League’s Super Bowl
  • Gilas Pilipinas basketball games

At first, MVP collaborated with IBC-13 for a blocktime deal that became AKTV. But when cash flow problems surfaced, he ended the blocktime agreement and was forced to utilize both TV5 and AksyonTV for their sports coverage.

Unfortunately for TV5, they encountered greater problems in handling such coverage. As a result, their entertainment programming was extremely compromised, while news programs on AksyonTV gradually eroded to the point that they were either cancelled or preempted.

Although the network managed to take advantage of the all-sports channel HYPER on its Cignal subscription service, it is clear that Sports5’s problems are becoming increasingly hard to overcome. Which leads to 2016, the year where the network’s contracts with the PBA, Olympics and the UFL are up for either renewal or expiration.

Considering these irreparable problems, the smart choice of action for TV5 at this point is to not renew their contracts with the said events. But with other networks enduring a variety of obstacles themselves, and with ABS-CBN Sports all too loaded to commit for more events, all signs point to a reluctant renewal.

So what’s next for Sports5? No one knows, but for the next several months, their busy schedule will be an evaluation process to see if they still have what it takes to be a big-time player in Philippine sports.

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live events, Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN, TV5 Share Coverage of Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup

The broadcast rights for Gilas Pilipinas games in the upcoming FIBA World Cup will be shared by ABS-CBN and TV5. (Photo credit: PhilStar.com)

Solar Sports and Basketball TV are the main Philippine broadcasters of the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Meanwhile, rival networks ABS-CBN and TV5 will share the free TV coverage of the event.

On Wednesday, July 30, ABS-CBN Sports announced their schedule of games for the upcoming FIBA World Cup on their Facebook account. The list of games on both ABS-CBN 2 and ABS-CBN Sports+Action include those of the United States men’s basketball team, as well as Gilas Pilipinas national team. The said network will also air the knockout games that would lead up to the medal rounds.

TV5 will also have the rights to the FIBA World Cup, but they will only air the games of the Gilas Pilipinas team. Per the set-up made by both parties and Solar Sports, TV5 will air the Gilas games live while ABS-CBN Sports will follow suit on a delayed basis.

The announcement of both networks caused confusion and uncertainty when it was first reported back in June. TV5 even went as far as saying that the games of Gilas Pilipinas will be EXCLUSIVELY aired on the network, a ‘fact’ even confirmed by Gilas head coach and Sports5 management director Chot Reyes on Twitter.

But according to an article on Spin.ph, it was ABS-CBN Sports who were first awarded the free TV rights to the FIBA World Cup. It was only after Gilas qualified for the World Cup that Solar decided to strike another deal with TV5.

This was indeed a false advertising move by TV5. By insisting that their coverage of the Gilas matches in the Worlds would be exclusive, and not knowing about rival ABS-CBN’s own coverage, they simply alienated viewers and made fools out of their own management. In the end, they replaced their previous advertisements in favor of modified versions.

The truth is, Solar’s decision to simultaneously award both networks only intensified a fierce rivalry between the Lopez Group and the MVP Group. While their rivalry has been well-established in the corporate world, the two parties took their feud to a whole new level, simply because of Gilas Pilipinas.

Let’s just hope that both networks will work together to deliver a consistent and well-produced coverage of the national team’s matches. After all, the fans only expect nothing but the best for Gilas Pilipinas, and the coverage of their games is essential towards maintaining that support.

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live events, news, Philippines, Sports, television

The Last Home Stand That Never Was

The PLDT Last Home Stand was advertised as a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team, until a last-second announcement forced the players to engage in practice drills with the NBA selection. (Poster courtesy of the MVP Group of Companies)

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. However, it did not turn out as advertised.

Last night’s event, which involved the Gilas team and a contingent of NBA players led by All-Stars James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Damien Lillard, was turned into a practice drill. The announcement came after the NBA threatened its players with suspensions and fines if they played in an ‘unsanctioned’ match, or in Filipino terms, ‘ligang labas’.

The unfortunate turn of events did not sit well with fans, who paid as much as P23,000 just to watch a significant tuneup game. As a result, boos rained down the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with some fans demanding refunds for their tickets.

With the event taking a turn for the worse, PLDT executive vice president Ariel Fermin announced later that night that ticket refunds for disgruntled fans will be honored, but still reminded fans that the event was for the benefit of victims of Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. He even added that ‘there was no mention of a game’, but media outlets who promoted The Last Home Stand in advance said otherwise.

In the aftermath of the poorly-received event, PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan apologized to fans for the turnout of the event. He then said that PLDT will be responsible for the repercussions surrounding the event.

Despite the unexpected change of plans, TV5 still aired The PLDT Last Home Stand as scheduled. But with tonight’s events already cancelled, the usual filler programs featuring Tagalized movies will be aired instead.

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be the follow-up to the successful Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend in 2011. However, the latter event that also involved an NBA selection was held during an NBA lockout, in which player contracts were suspended while negotiations were ongoing.

All in all, it was a public relations nightmare for the MVP Group of Companies, particularly PLDT. The event was hyped for months, beginning with the PBA and NCAA games, and culminating with the appearance of NBA players on the noontime show ‘Eat Bulaga’ last Monday. But all that hype went down the drain as the NBA decided to get involved with the charity event.

In the end, it was harsh lesson learned by the MVP Group, something they will remember for years to come. Let’s just hope that the unfortunate aftermath of the event will in no way affect the FIBA World Cup preparations of Gilas Pilipinas.

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