online, Philippines, Sports, television

PVL Returns to S+A After Controversial Livestream Issue

ABS-CBN has finally heeded the call of disgruntled PVL fans.

It was announced earlier this week that ABS-CBN Sports would air weekend Premier Volleyball League games on S+A in addition to the standard livestream broadcasts online. This came after last weekend’s livestream of the PVL on Tour in Tuguegarao was plagued with technical difficulties that led to many complaints from volleyball fans on social media.

Despite the good news, Wednesday PVL matches will remain exclusive to livestream while S+A will continue to reair UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball games. The full televised slate will only arrive once the semifinals and finals roll around.

The first televised PVL matches since opening day two weeks ago was the second stop of the PVL on Tour, this time in Batangas. Unlike last weekend in Tuguegarao where only four teams saw action, all eight teams, including Batangas native Alyssa Valdez’s Creamline Cool Smashers, participated in the provincial meet.

The next few weekends in the PVL Reinforced Conference schedule will take place in yet-to-be-determined venues. That said, there is a possibility that these matches will remain part of the PVL on Tour series, with the announcement to take place within the next several days.

Despite a partial television schedule, volleyball fans should feel more than satisfied with the response that ABS-CBN Sports gave to them. After all, the PVL has suffered long enough that the need to air more games on television will be key towards restoring the league’s credibility.

Because when the PVL has crowd drawers like Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao, chances are the league will thrive if only they are given the proper exposure and treatment by its broadcast partner. So far, however, the PVL had been on the wrong end of ABS-CBN Sports’ stick, being drowned out by reruns of last season’s UAAP women’s volleyball matches.

To their credit, ABS-CBN Sports listened to its viewers for the sake of the PVL broadcasts, which is a good thing. Now it will be up to them to keep the dice rolling.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Ruining the PVL: ABS-CBN’s Coverage Setup Leaves Fans Angry

It was more of the same result.

The second season of the Premier Volleyball League picked up from where the first season left off, with ABS-CBN Sports airing only a few select games on S+A while leaving the rest of the schedule to livestream. After only a week, however, fans have had enough and voiced their negative sentiments on social media.

This past weekend, the PVL held its games in Tuguegarao featuring Pocari-Air Force Lady Warriors, PayMaya High Flyers, Creamline Cool Smashers and BanKo Perlas. While the four games involving the four teams were compelling and exciting for the fans in attendance, those who watched the game online were dissatisfied over the broadcast.

Saturday’s Pocari-Air Force vs. PayMaya and Creamline vs. Banko livestreams encountered numerous delays and power interruptions that left volleyball fans seething with anger. In response, ABS-CBN Sports Production head Vince Rodriguez explained the motive behind the setup before ending with a seemingly positive remark.

Emphasis on the word ‘discussing’ because for the time being games of the PVL will still be aired only on livestream while talks for more TV coverage are in progress. Case in point: the matches that will take place later today.

As for the schedule on S+A, the network will broadcast a replay of UAAP women’s volleyball as it was the case last weekend. Talk about not moving on.

Suffice to say, the PVL is back to a familiar situation when they were still known as the Shakey’s V-League, in which it encountered TV coverage issues. ABS-CBN Sports was supposed to be the league’s savior when it arrived three years ago, but instead of making the league more exposed to the public, it only worsened its perception among volleyball fans.

Yes the league is proud to have Alyssa Valdez and Michele Gumabao as its standard-bearers, but unless ABS-CBN Sports does something drastic to appease its fans, the PVL will fall behind the shadows of its younger but emerging rival in the Philippine SuperLiga. The time is definitely now for ABS-CBN to take the PVL very seriously and stop pretending to be its pauper.

If this promise is not fulfilled, it might be high time for volleyball fans to switch to the PSL instead, where television and livestream coverage are limitless. Your call, ABS-CBN Sports.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Liga Is the New Balls

CPI has a new cable channel in LIGA, which will eventually serve as the main home of the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

ABS-CBN’s Creative Programs Inc. has a new cable channel anew.

Following the closure of TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel and Hero, CPI went back to work and quietly established a new sports-oriented cable channel called LIGA. The channel’s content will eventually be focused on the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but for the time being, it airs live and classic UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball matches as well as the World Cup qualifiers.

LIGA is served to complement S+A, ABS-CBN’s free TV channel dedicated to sports. While ABS-CBN Sports is the current rightsholder for the World Cup, its main channel S+A may not be enough to shoulder the burden due to its other sports commitments both internationally and locally.

Thus an alternate channel was needed to pick up the slack. Enter LIGA, which is currently on test broadcast with an official launch soon to be announced.

This is not the first time that CPI decided to establish its own sports channel. During the ensuing controversy surrounding SkyCable and Solar Entertainment in 2008 regarding carriage of the latter’s channels, CPI appeased to the demands of some sports fans with the launch of Balls, which lasted seven years before CPI ended its broadcasts in favor of S+A.

But unlike Balls which catered more to the upper echelon of society, LIGA will be more mass-oriented in nature. This despite the fact that it will contain many of the events that Balls used to air.

Now that LIGA is about to be unleashed, one can only hope that this channel will benefit sports fans in more ways than one. Not only that, as the home of the World Cup this June, football fans will be more excited than ever to see their football heroes strut their stuff in the world’s biggest stage.

Good luck.

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Philippines, Sports, television

When UAAP Courtside Reporting Is Not a Safe Bet

It is not easy to be a courtside reporter.

After all, it is considered one of the most highly scrutinized positions in the world of sports broadcasting. The best people on the job are those who can relate well to the audience, speak clearly and articulately, and exude confidence whenever possible.

In ABS-CBN Sports’ coverage of the UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, a courtside reporter is hired not because he/she is pretty or handsome, but because the network wants them to represent the school with both enthusiasm and pride. Unfortunately, there are those who were simply not up to the task.

Last Saturday, ABS-CBN quietly replaced Nicole Sumagui with Stef Monce as Adamson University’s courtside reporter. No explanation was made regarding the change, but observant viewers saw that Sumagui stuttered at times, was tentative and lacked confidence in her abilities.

Sumagui was not the first courtside reporter to get the pink slip early in the season. There have been two such cases in which a UAAP courtside reporter was replaced before the season concluded.

Prior to UAAP Season 73 (2010-11), ABS-CBN assigned Karen Rozul to be the courtside reporter of National University. But the network replaced her with the late Maan Panganiban when they realized that Rozul was not confident enough for the job.

Two seasons later, NU endured some deja vu when the ineffective Muriel Orais was dismissed in favor of Steph Sy. Sy, like Stef Monce later on, had already exhausted her two-year eligibility, but ABS-CBN reinstated her for a third year due to this untimely circumstance.

For all the talk about the next Pia Arcangel, Lia Cruz, Riki Flores, Aaron Atayde, Nikko Ramos and Laura Lehmann, there are those like Karen Rozul, Muriel Orais and Nicole Sumagui who do not deserve to be in the same room. They may have survived the auditions, yet they failed to translate that into at least one year’s worth of on-the-job training for a future broadcasting career.

UAAP courtside reporting is not an easy task, but if one can survive and fulfill a dream, then it should bode well for their future career paths.  With the second round of men’s basketball plus a full slate of women’s volleyball still to come, all eyes are on the seven rookies and one returnee to see if they have what it takes to be a great UAAP courtside reporter.

Note: Aside from Stef Monce, this season’s roster of UAAP courtside reporters consist of Martie Bautista (Ateneo de Manila University), Eileen Shi (De La Salle University), Sydney Crespo (Far Eastern University), Miguel Dypiangco (National University), Migs Gomez (University of the East), Agatha Uvero (University of the Philippines) and Tonie Moreno (University of Sto. Tomas).

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Philippines, Sports, television

Relegated to the Sidelines: PVL in Tough Position Due to UAAP

The maiden season of the Premier Volleyball League saw its coverage relegated to live stream on most of its games, severely affecting its ability to gain a wider audience. (Logo courtesy of Sports Vision)

Talk about a rough first season.

The debut season of the Premier Volleyball League (formerly the Shakey’s V-League) will officially conclude this month following the season-ending Collegiate Conference. Unfortunately for organizer Sports Vision and broadcast partner ABS-CBN Sports, it was a frustrating introduction for the rebranded league.

When the then-SVL and ABS-CBN joined forces last year, it was hailed as a promise in the right direction. During that first year, ABS-CBN (through UHF channel S+A) was able to bring a majority of the league’s games live, and in doing so, gave the SVL some much-needed recognition after years of TV coverage issues from previous partners.

After Sports Vision renamed the Shakey’s V-League into the Premier Volleyball League earlier this year, ABS-CBN stepped up its game as well. The network announced that the league’s games would air live on S+A and also online through the ABS-CBN Sports website, using a separate set of announcers for the two media.

So far, however, the coverage of the PVL has been a rocky one. Most of its games were relegated to live streaming online, mainly due to ABS-CBN Sports’ priority with UAAP women’s volleyball and men’s basketball.

And even when the UAAP took an offseason break from late May to August, the PVL remain buried behind the pecking order as ABS-CBN chose to re-air UAAP women’s volleyball games instead of giving the PVL a chance. That said, even with main attraction Alyssa Valdez carrying the PVL on her shoulders, the league still lacked the exposure it deserves.

What ABS-CBN did is similar to Sports5’s approach with the Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) in which some games are aired only on livestream. If this is the treatment they wanted for the PVL, then they’re not helping its cause.

While this is only Year 1 of the PVL’s TV/live stream experiment, the warning signs were evident. ABS-CBN Sports failed to account the fact that many people still depend on television for their viewing needs, and although mobile devices are becoming plentiful by the day, nothing can beat the easy convenience of television.

Come the 2018 season, expect wholesale changes from both the PVL and its broadcast partner. Still, it remains to be seen if next year will bring a much-improved scope and exposure into the Premier Volleyball League.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Uncertain Future for the PCCL After Cancellation of 2016-17 Tournament

The future of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League is in doubt after organizers cancelled the 2016-17 tournament. (Logo courtesy of the PCCL)

The future of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League is in doubt after organizers cancelled the 2016-17 tournament. (Logo courtesy of the PCCL)

There will be no national collegiate champion in the 2016-17 academic season.

It was announced earlier this week that the 2016-17 edition of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League will be canceled. According to PCCL commissioner Joe Lipa, various factors made it impossible to stage the tournament, namely schedules of participating leagues and TV coverage.

Last season’s PCCL was criticized for crowning two champions after the tournament was cut short due to typhoon Nona. FEU and San Beda were declared co-champions, while Letran and the University of San Carlos shared third place honors.

But even before last season’s debacle, the PCCL has had a reputation for being a poorly-organized tournament. Supposedly patterned after the U.S. NCAA March Madness tournament, the PCCL instead turned out to be more of an exhibition series, with several schools already slotting their Team B players in lieu of those who already moved to the professional ranks.

The PCCL also appeared to favor the Metro Manila teams more than those in the provinces. Since it began in 2003, the PCCL championship either went to a UAAP or NCAA school, and to make matters worse, the league has often awarded free passes to either league’s champions or Final Four qualifiers in the later rounds.

The poor quality of the PCCL also extends to television coverage. Although the addition of ABS-CBN Sports in 2009 somewhat helped the PCCL in the exposure department, it was eventually overshadowed by the growing popularity of the concurrent UAAP women’s volleyball tournament, which trumped the PCCL by a mile.

And last season, the UAAP’s decision to move the start of their season to September wrecked the PCCL’s plans to smoothly hold their tournament. With the UAAP men’s basketball championship taking place around late November and early December, it would be impossible for the PCCL to crown a national championship during those months.

Overall, the PCCL is not quite as prestigious as they should have. To this day, crowning a true national champion in the PCCL remains secondary to winning a championship in a more established mother league like the UAAP or the NCAA.

So what’s next for the PCCL? While the league hopes to hold another tournament next year, it remains to be seen if they will indeed put those hard-earned lessons to the test, and with regards to TV coverage, it may not be easy to attract potential suitors this time, given that their most viable backer in ABS-CBN Sports decided to cut ties.

That said, if this is indeed the end for the PCCL, this is definitely the time. They may have had promise, but at the end of the day, a true national champion will only be a memory.

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