Philippines, satellite TV, Sports, television

With PBA Rush, League’s Future with TV5 Appears Secure

Cignal’s newest channel, PBA Rush, was launched July 17, at a time when the league’s future with parent network TV5 is in doubt. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine Basketball Association, Cignal Digital TV)

Looks like loyal followers of the PBA will have nothing to worry about as far as television coverage is concerned.

Yesterday, the league and Cignal joined forces to launch a 24-hour channel called PBA Rush. Available exclusively on Cignal SD channel 52 and HD channel 129, the channel will feature live PBA games, as well as special league-centric programming and classic games.

Prior to the official unveiling of PBA Rush, the channel had been airing in test broadcast since early July. During that period, it aired replays of the season’s two previous tournaments (Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup), as well as the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.

The decision to launch PBA Rush came at a not-so opportune time. The ongoing Governors’ Cup was to be the league’s last hurrah with TV5, and with the network enduring a lot of problems with its programming, it seems obvious that the PBA could be on its way out.

But where will the PBA go at this point? Here’s a look at how the other free TV channels stack up as far as the league is concerned (only VHF channels are listed here, as the PBA prefers to airs games on that platform only).

ABS-CBN – The Kapamilya network has expressed interest in airing the PBA games for a long time. However, what holds them back is their reluctance to air the games on primetime, the league’s long-standing decision to air games on VHF channels only, and the sports division’s loaded lineup.

PTV-4 – The PBA and the People’s Network are no stranger to each other, having been partners during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. But with the network undergoing a rebuilding phase under PCOO secretary and former TV5 personality Martin Andanar, it is unlikely that a reunion will take place in the foreseeable future.

GMA/GMA News TV – Sporting events and GMA have been few and far between since the network switched from a rainbow logo to a rainbow-colored heart logo. And with the Kapuso network already in a spending binge thanks to the return of ‘Encantadia’, it is unlikely that GMA will pursue the PBA (and any other sporting event for that matter) anytime soon.

RPN-9/CNN Philippines – Before RPN-9 became the home of CNN Philippines, it used to air PBA games in the 1970s and more recently in the late 2000s. However, since CNN has content rights to the local version of the channel, there is no way that a reunion with the PBA will happen as long as they’re here.

IBC-13 – The PBA and IBC has had three different stints under three different partners: Vintage/VIVA TV, PTV-4 and Sports5. But with the embattled network currently up for sale, any further return is not in the cards for now.

That said, it is a safe bet that the PBA and TV5 will renew their contract soon after the conclusion of the Governors’ Cup. Then again, any contract renewal may no longer be a possibility, since the launch of PBA Rush essentially extended PBA’s relationship with TV5 for the foreseeable amount of time.

Still, it remains to be seen if the launch of PBA Rush will pay dividends. But let’s just hope that the channel will not pose a threat to Manny V. Pangilinan’s pocket.

Standard
Philippines, Sports, television

Blow by Blow Returns to Philippine TV

The show that discovered Manny Pacquiao is coming back.

‘Blow by Blow’, the once-popular grassroots boxing program, makes its return on TV5 under the title of ‘Manny Pacquiao Presents: Blow by Blow’. The revived ‘Blow by Blow’ will be spearheaded by Pacquiao himself, with the help of former governor Manny Piñol, promoter Lito Mondejar, and Sports5 head Chot Reyes.

The original ‘Blow by Blow’ aired on IBC-13 during the late 1990s, and was produced by the now-defunct Vintage Sports team. The new ‘Blow by Blow’ will retain much of the same aspects as the original, with fights that feature budding boxing talents from the flyweight to weatherweight divisions.

‘Blow by Blow’ will be a year-round tournament where they will crown the best fighter in each weight division, and the best fighter overall. The top six boxers would then have the opportunity to face some of the best foreign boxers in the United States.

In addition to the featured fights, there will be short segments that focus on the lives of the boxers, as well as training tips hosted by Pacquiao. Overall, the new ‘Blow by Blow’ will take on a part-documentary, part-boxing program approach in order to fit in with the demands of reality television.

For Manny Pacquiao, ‘Blow by Blow’ is his way of turning over to a new generation. With his boxing career coming to an end, the time is definitely now for him to pass the baton to young talents who deserve an opportunity to become stars themselves.

‘Manny Pacquiao Presents: Blow by Blow’ airs on TV5 starting this Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Standard
entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

History of Manny Pacquiao Boxing Fights on Philippine TV

 

Before winning world championships in eight weight divisions, Manny Pacquiao was a regular fixture on the Vintage Sports boxing program ‘Blow by Blow’. (Screenshot courtesy of Vintage Television and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation)

It’s another Manny Pacquiao fight day this Sunday.

On November 23, Pacquiao will put his WBO Welterweight Championship on the line against WBO Light Welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri in Macau. The 64th bout in Pacquiao’s 19-year career is expected to be another blockbuster, both in the box office and on television.

But before that, here is a look back at the history of Manny Pacquiao’s fights on Philippine television.

The ‘Blow by Blow’ Years

From 1994 to 1999, the now-defunct Vintage Sports produced the weekly boxing program ‘Blow by Blow’, which was aired on both PTV-4 and IBC-13. It was in this series where Pacquiao began his boxing career, and with the exception of a knockout defeat by Rustico Torrecampo, Pacquiao dominated ‘Blow by Blow’ by winning every bout he participated in.

From Sasakul to Lucero

Despite the cancellation of ‘Blow by Blow’, Pacquiao continued his emergence in the boxing ranks. From 1998 to 2003, IBC-13 and Vintage, later known as Viva TV, televised and produced Pacquiao’s fights, which include his impressive knockout victories over Chatchai Sasakul (1998) and Lehlohonolo Ledwaba (2001).

The knockout victory against Mexico’s Emmanuel Lucero in 2003 would be the last Pacquiao fight produced by Viva, as Solar Sports would acquire the Filipino TV rights to every subsequent Pacquiao bout.

From Barrera I to Morales III

Most of Pacquiao’s fights have been televised on Solar Sports since 2003. They had to do it, however, with various free TV partners.

From 2003-05, RPN-9 solely televised Pacquiao fights, the most notable of which was the technical knockout victory over Marco Antonio Barrera in late 2003. After the Hector Velasquez bout in 2005, RPN continued to air Pacquiao fights through 2010, but by then they have deferred to other networks for tape delay broadcasts.

In 2006, ABS-CBN produced all of Pacquiao’s fights that year, including a pair of knockout victories over Erik Morales. But the following year, Pacquiao decided to sign with GMA as a contract artist, and as a result, the Kapuso network would take over as the official free TV coveror of Pacquiao fights, which remains to this day.

From Solis to Bradley II

Starting with the bout against Jorge Solis, all Pacquiao fights were televised on both GMA and Solar Sports. It was also with the Solis fight that Solar began to broadcast every Pacquiao fight on pay-per-view via Solar All Access, giving boxing fans an advanced opportunity to watch a Pacquiao bout in real time.

The GMA-Solar partnership was not without complications, however. Prior to Pacquiao’s fight against Ricky Hatton in 2009, a contractual issue between Pacquiao and Solar forced the boxer to re-sign with ABS-CBN, but after resolving the issue with Solar executives, Pacquiao chose to re-sign with Solar instead.

Even though Pacquiao is currently signed with Top Rank Boxing, the promotion elected to sign a television deal with ABS-CBN Sports later that year, with the Kapamilya network choosing to focus on Top Rank’s other top Filipino boxer, Nonito Donaire.

While they earned high ratings, GMA’s airings of Pacquiao fights became a heavily-criticized affair, owing mostly to the extended commercial breaks and overreliance on ad placements during each bout. As a result, ABS-CBN and other networks would take advantage of GMA’s uber-delayed broadcasts by announcing the winner as early as possible, just to benefit a majority of disgruntled boxing fans.

Still, the GMA-Solar consortium proved to be the most successful of all the TV partners that covered Pacquiao’s major fights, not only ratings-wise, but also in terms of pay-per-view returns and ad rates.

Looking Ahead to Algieri

In two days, Manny Pacquiao will face Chris Algieri, and once again, all eyes will be on GMA and Solar who will cover the bout. Expect the two networks to pull out every stop in order to broadcast this much-awaited fight.

From ‘Blow by Blow’ to pay-per-view, Manny Pacquiao’s rise is definitely a stuff of legend. And for those who watched Pacquiao from his debut, it was all worth it.

Standard