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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Philippines, Sports, television

No to UAAP on TV5

The UAAP’s recent surge of popularity can be attributed to ABS-CBN’s effective marketing strategies in events like the Cheerdance Competition, something that rival TV5 needs to address in its sports programs to become more competitive.

TV5 is at it again. After earning the rights to air the Super Bowl and the Winter, Youth and Summer Olympic games, its next target is the UAAP, which is currently under ABS-CBN Sports.

Spin.ph reported Saturday that a letter of intent was submitted by TV5 to the UAAP board expressing its interest to acquire broadcast rights to the league. The same article also said that ABS-CBN is determined to extend its current contract, which is expected to expire after Season 77 (2014-15).

I think TV5 is not a good fit for the UAAP. Their sports division has been frequently at odds with the entertainment department over the scheduling of the PBA and other events, and their coverage of the NCAA and UFL has often been erratic. In addition, AksyonTV is not as powerful as ABS-CBN Sports + Action in terms of reach and clarity, not to mention lacking the commercial advertisements needed to support the network. In short, the potential acquisition of the UAAP games by TV5 will only complicate matters.

Having said that, it is only appropriate that the UAAP should remain with ABS-CBN Sports. Its 14-year relationship brought nothing but growth, improvement and popularity, and keeping the said league with the Kapamilya network will only continue to foster a comfortable and loyal relationship between the two parties.

But if TV5 is really determined to acquire the UAAP coverage, they should address their programming and advertising issues first. Not only that, they need to improve their existing facilities and equipment to be at par with what ABS-CBN is currently doing. And finally, the Kapatid network must prove worthy of the coverage by airing more NCAA games in sports other than basketball (its contract with that league also expires after 2014-15).

TV5’s pursuit of the UAAP will only begin in 2015. But for now, it is ABS-CBN Sports who is responsible for the broadcasts. And as far as the rights were concerned, I hope that the UAAP will remain a Kapamilya for an extended period of time.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Goodbye AKTV

After nearly two years on air, AKTV signs off for good. But problems within TV5’s sports division continue to persist today. (Logo courtesy of ABC Development Corporation)

On May 31, 2013, the AKTV on IBC 13 block aired for the last time. As reported over a month ago, Mediaquest has decided not to renew the blocktime contract with IBC 13, which expired in May. With AKTV ceasing to exist, Sports5‘s properties are being moved to AksyonTV and Hyper starting this month.

The AKTV programming block made its rousing debut in August 2011 with the Smart All-Star Ultimate Challenge, pitting the Gilas national team and an all-PBA selection against NBA players led by Kobe Bryant. In October, AKTV became the home of the PBA, airing all of its games for the next two years. Over the next few months, AKTV aired sports events like soccer’s United Football LeaguePremier League, La Liga and Bundesliga, the 2012 London Olympic Games, the NCAA, PBA D-League and professional boxing, among others. However, mounting costs, coupled with lack of profits, forced TV5 management not to renew its block-time agreement after two years.

The signs that AKTV’s days were numbered showed after the PBA allowed to air the recently concluded Commissioner’s Cup Final on TV5. In addition, IBC decided to reduce AKTV’s programming hours during the weekends. Originally the block aired for 12 hours on weekends, but was reduced to six hours in the block’s final few months. As AKTV was winding down, Mediaquest was scrambling to find a new network for its UFL and incoming NCAA coverage, which AksyonTV was able to oblige.

AksyonTV is no stranger to airing sports coverage. In its infancy, it aired a boxing match featuring Filipina Ana Julaton, but has since deferred from airing further sports in favor of news and public affairs. However, with AKTV no longer in the equation, AksyonTV had no other choice but to air the UFL, the PBA D-League and the upcoming NCAA season.

The demise of AKTV exposed TV5’s budgetary deficiencies. By committing too much on several sports properties without giving enough time to tinker and experiment, they lost so much money, and by the time the deal expired, they scrambled to get their sports properties on another channel. The 2012 London Olympics was a broadcasting failure, both in expenses and revenue. Also their more recent venture with the NCAA had an adverse effect on its budget. The ‘AKTV Center’ before PBA games, though well-viewed, was unnecessary. Perhaps the network’s owner Manny V. Pangilinan had a full pocket that he spent lavishly on it, without realizing how to conserve them. With all that in mind, it is clear that TV5 wants to be a cut above the rest, at par with competitors ABS-CBN and GMA 7. But instead their free-spending ways betrayed them in the end.

I already wrote about GMA 7’s lack of a sports division before. Perhaps GMA should step up already. Then again, neither will GMA 7’s ownership be serious enough to acquire the sports properties that TV5 has. Until then, TV5 should remain committed with what they have now, regardless of how their budget would play a role. Otherwise it will be a long season for the still-fledgling network.

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