ANOTHER PBA team owner has added his voice to the mounting anger and concern over the television coverage of the pro league's games this season.
A day after Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu called on the league to address the issue, GlobalPort big boss Mikee Romero warned that a broadcast set-up that has drawn protests from countless fans could have dire repercussions on the league if nothing is done about it.
“Kung itutuloy nila 'yan (broadcast set-up) … that’s exactly how the PBL died,” said Romero, whose Harbour Centre franchise won a string of championships in what used to be the top amateur league in the country.
They Said It!
“Regardless na may Fox or kung ano pa, ang tanong rito ng fans is yung live coverage sa channel na mas mapapanood ng marami. Yun ang reklamo ng mga fans, di ba?" - GlobalPort Batang Pier team owner Mikee Romero
The outspoken sportsman said he is very much aware of the frustration of diehard fans over the telecast, which has matches aired live over UHF channel Aksyon TV 41 during weekends and the second game of weekday doubleheaders carried live by TV5.
However, fans have complained that Aksyon TV is either inaccessible or has a weak signal in their areas and are demanding that more games be shown live over TV5, which airs replays of the first game of weekday doubleheaders after its late-evening newscast.
Although weekday games are also shown live on cable channel FOX Philippines and most weekend games are carried live by TV5, Romero said it is imperative that the league find ways to broadcast all the games live in a channel that is most accessible for its fans.
“Regardless na may Fox or kung ano pa, ang tanong rito ng fans is yung live coverage sa channel na mas mapapanood ng marami,” he said. “Yun ang reklamo ng mga fans, di ba?”
[Listen to podcast of full interview with Mikee Romero here]
Romero also echoed Uytengsu's view that there's no substitute for a live broadcast of the league's games as he drew parallels between the current situation of the PBA and the final years of the PBL.
“Nung PBL days namin, nung ginawa nang delayed telecast (ang laro), yung mga fans hindi na masyadong nanonood. Dahil alam na ang resulta eh. So it led to the death of the PBL,” said the businessman listed by Forbes magazine as the 26th richest Filipino.
“Ang mga fans kasi hindi na interesado ang mga 'yan sa mga laro na delayed. Kasi alam na nila kung sino ang nanalo … anti-climactic na. Lalo ngayon uso na ang Twitter at social networking sites,” he added.
Romero continued: “Malaking bagay (ang live TV coverage) - 75 percent ng excitement nage-generate mo sa live coverage sa TV."
The GlobalPort owner said he has already advised his representative to the PBA board, Erick Arejola, to bring up the issue in the next board meeting, saying he dreads to see the current TV set-up go beyond the final game of the ongoing all-Filipino conference.
“Hindi ko lang alam kung kailan 'yung board meeting nila. Pero I will ask our representative to ask what’s happening,” Romero said. “I want them to give us owners also an explanation if this is temporary or will this be a permanent (set-up)?”
If the current broadcast set-up continues, Romero warned the league is bound to suffer.
“The board also has to think about 'yung repercussions nito. Taking from (my) PBL experience, pagka delayed ayaw na panoorin … yung fans, mababawasan yan. Sa ngayon, hindi nila mararamdaman pero in the long run … baka,” Romero warned.
“Yung PBA ngayon is in an upswing ... Sayang yung upswing eh tapos ganito mangyayari.”