I got the idea from www.spin.ph.
UAAP will try to live without the backing of the ABS-CBN – for at least two to three years (depending on the deal they get in that period) – with most of its manpower and resources in some sort of a bind following the non-renewal.
And this sucks.
Sure, the NCAA never really benefited to what the UAAP had. With the exception of the San Beda Lions and the Letran Knights, the rest of the league doesn’t really enjoy the popularity of their UAAP counterparts.
Maybe it’s because NCAA positioned itself as blue-collar workers. Sure, most NCAA players do not have the sponsorship deals as compared to the UAAP players but this takes a turn when they level up their careers with Calvin Abueva, Scottie Thompson, Ian Sangalang, CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, Jio Jalalon, and other top-notch secondary options as examples.
The early popularity could even dampen the careers of the UAAP players because after their college stints are over, they move to the PBA and struggle even in reserve roles.
I hate to bring this example but Scottie Thompson never really enjoyed the popularity Jeric and Jeron Teng had in college and look at him now. If the Teng Brothers had that viral McDo video back in the day, now Scottie Thompson is the current Ginebra poster boy. Kiefer Ravena and Chris Tiu have had commercial success prior to their Gilas Pilipinas stints. More or less a decade ago, Japs Cuan and a host of other players did a Globe commercial. Or what about the Bench TVC that had Enrico Villanueva going against BJ Manalo?
While I am not saying the NCAA produces better players than the UAAP, their spotlight is twice as blinding.
But that’s not ABS-CBN’s fault. Since they do not have the PBA, they are doubling down on the UAAP. This is actually an awesome formula they concocted. The MBA is a logistical problem but for a time they were a believable threat to the PBA because of their marketing strategy. The “Passion of the Nation” slogan is way better than “Ito Ang Game Ko”. The MPBL kind of inherited ABS-CBN’s MBA vision... but with the league and the network learning from the MBA’s flaws, they actually improved the way they produced their games. The entry of the MPBL optimized a lot of struggling careers – whether they are Division III players or struggling pros. Mark Yee’s career nearing his 40s is actually better when he was still in his early 30s.
Basically, they know how to market the hell out of these games... and I guess it is MPBL’s fault that they didn’t anticipate graft and corruption amongst their squads (especially when the teams ballooned in such an insane pace).
From a sports standpoint, the biggest miss of the ABS-CBN dismissal is their contribution to sports. TV5 is now One Sports but it’s not like they consistently produced effective content. 15 years ago, I was working in ABC-5 and while we took pride in the PBA, the whole ESPN thing is basically filler programming. And now with the shutdown, maybe the company wants to sign all the entertainment talent, re-start their entertainment division, and become a competitive number two rather than a “by default” runner-up.
The reason why ABS-CBN wanted the PBA to play morning games when they bid for it a couple of years ago is that the weekday primetime games are going to destroy their telenovela block. And while the UAAP games are more in the daytime, maybe TV5 needs that timeslot especially if they are still going to keep the PBA schedule.
I guess the other thing they could do is to look for other players in which they can have a presence in both on-air and online.
GMA has had success in airing Manny Pacquiao fights as well as the ones with Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria. It has been airing National Basketball League games and previously aired WNCAA games and Shakey's V-League tourneys but I don't know if the UAAP would make that big of a jump after a two-decade partnership. Then again, loyalty aside, this is not a bad choice considering their reach and manpower.
And inasmuch as I want to see other channels like PTV, IBC, and even Net25 and UNTV get the college leagues... I think the UAAP is better off developing better social media audiences.
I don’t know if the NCAA or the UAAP have their own Youtube channels or even an active Facebook page. They should, though. Maybe they can work on a deal wherein most of their games are seen online and the important or weekend games can be featured live on the big networks. Yes, there is a pandemic and we don’t know how the new normal will end (or will it ever end) but I guess it’s best to be ready. They can even do what ABS-CBN did best to promote the games - like the game previews they like to do.
What... about... podcasts?
Also, maybe it’s time for us to look for other sports coverage opportunities. Say what you want about the stupid SEA Games cauldron (I wonder how it is being maintained) but the 2019 staging gave us a bunch of games that can work in the current setup. Weightlifting can work in a studio setup and could be a one hour, reality program they could either produce as a live program or they could tape it as a live program. Ditto for gymnastics and indoor hockey and maybe we can revive the popularity of billiards.
If there’s one thing I learned from this pandemic, it’s that DOTA 2 teams like TNC, Fnatic, Geekfam, Excecration, and Neon E-sports can play multiple tournaments from their houses.
Wrestling is essential entertainment in the US.
Maybe the new normal can create new sports broadcasting opportunities.