THE SM Group is now in the process of studying the possibility of joining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
No less than SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy confirmed to Spin.ph that officials of Asia’s pioneering pro league have already approached the company about becoming its newest member ballclub.
At present, however, Sy said the giant mall chain is non-committal about putting up a ballclub in the PBA, which is aggressively pursuing plans to expand its current 10-team roster.
“We are still in a very initial stage,” Sy said in an interview with Spin.ph after he watched the National University baseball team play in the UAAP at the Rizal Memorial ballpark on Sunday.
The SM Group already has a standing relationship with the PBA as several of the league's games are being held at the Sy-owned Mall of Asia Arena.
SM is also bankrolling a team in the PBA D-League that carries the colors of Banco De Oro, which is made up of the core of the college team of NU which the Sys also control.
Sy, however, said the company is still far from making a decision on the matter.
“I would not say it’s going towards there yet,” said Sy, who spearheaded efforts to bring the first NBA preseason game to the country last year, reportedly to the tune of P350 million.
The son of the country's richest man, Henry Sy, said the company will weigh all implications of such a move before making a decision, primarily its impact on its marketing plans and the support of fans.
“We are assessing the situation between the fans and the market,” Sy said.
One major concern for Sy is that by joining the PBA, the company's malls and products risk losing the patronage of rabid fans of rival ballclubs.
“The problem here is fans get a bit too engrossed, baka mamaya walang magpunta sa amin. So our marketing (department) is still making an assessment,” said Sy.
Sy, however, admitted that joining the PBA will add prestige to the company due to the pro league's popularity.
“I can’t really tell right now. We know it’s popular and we like to support it. Pero we have to watch the market also,” Sy said.