Philippines, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Sports Erroneously Advertised Game 2 of UAAP Finals as Airing on Channel 2

Ateneo did win after all at UP’s expense.

And it was not even close. Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals ended with a 99-81 score in favor of the Blue Eagles, clinching their tenth championship and eighth in this millennium.

But in the days leading up to Game 2 there was some confusion as to which channels would air the game. A look at ABS-CBN Sports’ Facebook page and it was clear that their social media team screwed up with the announcements.

This post was taken last Tuesday.

Then they made another post hours prior to the game.

The same posts were tweeted on ABS-CBN Sports’ Twitter account, although the latter post was deleted a few hours later. Either way this was a perplexing situation.

The photo stated that Game 2 would be aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2, S+A, via live stream on ABS-CBN Sports’ official website and iWant. However, Channel 2 did not advertise the game at all, and instead aired episode teasers of ‘Kadenang Ginto’, ‘Los Bastardos’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother Otso’ and ‘Meteor Garden’ throughout the morning and early afternoon last Wednesday.

Sure enough, Channel 2 continued on with Kapamilya Gold while Game 2 ended up airing only on S+A. In short, ABS-CBN Sports social media made quite an epic gaffe over the announcement.

Since 2009, ABS-CBN Sports’ contract with the UAAP allowed for at least one game of the Finals to air on Channel 2 (usually on Saturdays). However, Channel 2 ended up airing only Game 1 on most seasons and rarely does the channel air the more compelling Games 2 and/or 3 which are potential championship clinchers.

With the addition of S+A as a secondary option in 2016, ratings of the UAAP finals on Channel 2 saw some precipitous drops, and this year was no exception. Game 1 of the 2018 Finals between Ateneo and UP on Channel 2 only finished with an 11.2% rating, whereas GMA shows ‘Wish Ko Lang’, ‘Imbestigador’ and ’24 Oras Weekend’ posted better numbers.

There are two things that are to blame for Channel 2’s low ratings of the Finals. First, viewers were more accustomed to watching the game on S+A (especially now with the addition of the ABS-CBN TVPlus), and second, Game 1 was not even significant to begin with as there is nothing on the line except the first victory.

That said, with the Finals on Channel 2 experiencing low ratings of late, perhaps ABS-CBN Sports should make some adjustments to the airing schedule. Since Game 1 is not that important, they should look at Games 2 and 3 as potential ratings draws and schedule them on a Saturday so that Channel 2 can join in.

If not, just abandon said practice and air all games on S+A only. That could be a fair deal.

The good news is that the ‘Battle of Katipunan’ UAAP finals attracted many spectators and viewers alike. But unless ABS-CBN does something smarter to make the finals more enticing, expect lower ratings in future games on Channel 2.

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Philippines, Sports, television

UAAP Final Four and Finals to Stream Only on iWant and ABS-CBN Sports Website

Talk about making some restrictions.

The UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Final Four is currently in progress with Ateneo already clinching the first slot of the Finals while Adamson and UP continue to dispute the other ticket. Unfortunately for viewers who are on a road trip or are away from home, they only have two choices to watch the rest of the tournament.

On ABS-CBN Sports’ official YouTube page, they posted a live stream of rolling advisories redirecting viewers to watch the UAAP Final Four on iWant and ABS-CBN Sports’ official website. The statement that will greet viewers is as follows:

“Watch all the games of the Final Four live on sports.abs-cbn.com or iwant.ph!”

In short, there is no live stream of the UAAP Final Four on ABS-CBN Sports’ YouTube channel at all. Instead, viewers can only watch the games online for free on the ABS-CBN Sports website or the iWant app (the latter requires user registration).

The same approach will apply during the UAAP women’s basketball stepladder playoffs, of which ABS-CBN Sports began covering in earnest. Considering last week’s debacle during the cheerdance competition (the YouTube stream crashed on occasion due to the heavy volume of viewers), it only made sense for ABS-CBN to avoid a repeat of such incident.

It also encourages the network to take full use of other sporting events that would have otherwise been inaccessible to the public. For instance, the Premier Volleyball League and the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball tournament will still be available live and free on the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube channel, because the network wants to promote the sport of volleyball very seriously.

As for the possibility of airing the men’s basketball finals anew on ABS-CBN Channel 2, it remains to be seen if the network will still push through with the plan. Considering ‘It’s Showtime”s recent penchant for working overtime, ABS-CBN Sports executives might as well stick with only S+A and live stream for the series.

The UAAP men’s basketball Final Four continues Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. with Adamson and UP disputing the last Finals slot. Game 1 of the Finals will begin Saturday.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Is UAAP Women’s Basketball Being Slighted by ABS-CBN Sports?

UAAP Season 81 is well underway.

But while the men’s basketball tournament always gets the attention of ABS-CBN Sports due to its popularity and appeal (that along with the eight courtside reporters for the season), the same cannot be said of the women’s side. There are three factors as to why UAAP women’s basketball tends to get an unfair treatment from ABS-CBN and sports fans in particular.

Lack of Popular Appeal

For the most part, women’s basketball has never been popular in the Philippines. Part of it was due to the absence of a legitimate women’s basketball league and a still-overlying perception that only men can play ball.

UAAP women’s basketball, in particular, only attracts around hundreds, if not less, fans in each game. Which leads to the second factor.

Disparity in Scheduling

Unlike men’s volleyball which is always scheduled before women’s volleyball matches, UAAP women’s basketball schedules always vary in terms of dates and venues. For example, here is the schedule for first round of Season 81.

Looking at the schedule closely, there are three playdates of at least three games that will be held at either the Blue Eagle Gym or the FilOil Flying V Centre. The rest are scheduled on the same day as the men’s basketball games at either the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The fact of the matter is, basketball remains a more popular sport than volleyball and the UAAP usually places the former sport for men in big venues because of its immense appeal. It would be tough for women’s basketball games to be scheduled on the same venue and on the same day as the men especially when popular rivalries such as Ateneo-La Salle come into play.

Loaded Schedule for ABS-CBN Sports

This September alone ABS-CBN Sports has an extremely busy schedule to attend to. In addition to UAAP men’s basketball, the network also covers the NCAA seniors’ basketball, the MPBL and the PVL among others.

ABS-CBN is also expected to air the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season next month. That said, with so many commitments left and right, the network has no room to cover UAAP women’s basketball on television and can only settle for live coverage of the finals come December (but at least it still airs the WNBA as part of its contract with the NBA).

It remains to be seen if ABS-CBN Sports will be willing to change its perception towards the UAAP women’s basketball tournament. For now, though, women’s basketball in the Philippines is a painful work in progress and it desperately needs the public’s help.

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Philippines, Sports, television

UAAP and PVL Finals Forces MPBL Game to Air on LIGA

Here is some good and bad news for basketball and volleyball fans.

Game 2 of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Finals will be aired live on ABS-CBN’s S+A at 6:30 p.m. tonight. At the moment, UP leads FEU by one game in this best-of-three encounter and can clinch the championship with a win.

Meanwhile, the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League will have a doubleheader scheduled in Bataan as well. However, only one game (Bataan vs. Valenzuela after the PVL Finals) will be aired live on S+A.

The reason: priorities over a particular sporting event. As the UAAP men’s basketball tournament is already underway, S+A considers this league as its first priority due to the UAAP’s immense popularity and appeal.

Today’s UAAP doubleheader will have UST vs. FEU followed by UP vs. Ateneo starting at 2:00 p.m. Which leads to the second priority in the PVL Finals.

ABS-CBN Sports and PVL organizer Sports Vision decided to schedule the finals on primetime so as not to conflict with UAAP basketball and to allow a wider audience to watch the game. Which then leads to the third priority in the MPBL.

Because of S+A’s aforementioned scheduling priorities not to mention that it is currently in the elimination stage, the MPBL had no choice but to air the first game in Bataan on sister channel LIGA. The game in question pits Pasig and San Juan.

This will mark the first time that the MPBL will be aired on LIGA. The good news, though, is that both games in Bataan will still be simulcast on the MPBL Facebook page.

Going back to the PVL, Game 2 of the Battle for Third between Adamson and UST will only air on LIGA and on the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube page as it will take place at around the same time as the UP-Ateneo UAAP basketball game. The match will be aired on a delayed basis this Friday on S+A after the NCAA basketball games.

Overall, S+A has a packed Wednesday lineup coming up. And it was good to see ABS-CBN resolving this scheduling dilemma in advance so as to benefit its legions of sports fans.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Postmortem: UAAP Season 80 on ABS-CBN S+A

Another UAAP season has closed.

For the most part, UAAP Season 80 was a success. Some new champions were crowned and a few reigning titleholders were able to defend their gold, while new stars emerged and others bowed out.

As for the coverage on ABS-CBN S+A, there were some hits and misses as well. Here is a look back at what the network was able to do in Season 80.

New Upfront

The third season of ‘UAAP Upfront’ eschewed the live pregame presentation in favor of a straight-up lifestyle program dedicated to showcasing the lives of UAAP athletes away from their respective sports. It also aired exclusively during weekends, which helped mitigate whatever production costs S+A endures during live broadcasts.

UAAP Insiders

During the men’s basketball season, S+A added an extra on-air talent known as a UAAP Insider, featuring former courtside reporters Ganiel Krishnan, Angelique Manto, Ira Pablo and Pauline Versoza. Unfortunately, the addition of a UAAP Insider cut some exposure away from the new batch of courtside reporters, and this role was eventually cut prior to the women’s volleyball tournament.

Courtside Reporters

This season’s batch featured no holdovers and the first to feature men since Season 74. However, Adamson representative Nicole Sumagui was dismissed for poor performance and was replaced by predecessor Stef Monce for the rest of the men’s basketball tournament, and Armand Hernandez during the women’s volleyball tournament.

This year’s cast also featured Martie Bautista (Ateneo), Eileen Shi (La Salle), Sydney Crespo (FEU), Miguel Dypiangco (NU), Migs Gomez (UE), Agatha Uvero (UP) and Tonie Moreno (UST). Performance-wise it was satisfactory, but if not for the UAAP Insiders their potential would have been unleashed further.

The Entry of LIGA

Late January saw the launch of LIGA, the new cable channel of ABS-CBN’s Creative Programs Inc. This enabled ABS-CBN Sports to go deeper into UAAP live coverage as it aired the first game of men’s volleyball doubleheaders (plus second game of Sunday doubleheaders) as well as the finals of the softball and baseball tournaments.

Lack of First Semester Coverage

But while the second semester UAAP tournaments were extensively covered by ABS-CBN Sports, the first semester tournaments still leave a lot to be desired. The most noteworthy omission is women’s basketball, which for the most part played on the same day as their men’s basketball counterparts, yet only the finals were aired on S+A.

With the entry of LIGA, perhaps the time is now for the UAAP women’s basketball tournament to be taken seriously. Your call, ABS-CBN.

Overall, UAAP Season 80 broadcasts was good, but still not great. Yes, the slogan for the season was ‘Go for Great’, but in terms of coverage, it was still not above standard as any UAAP fan would want.

With Season 81 taking place in a few months’ time, there are still some kinks with which ABS-CBN Sports must address. That said, it will be interesting to see how the network will change its approach come next season.

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