THE keen pursuit of a multi-million franchise by Global Port Inc. and the high television ratings garnered by the recent Commissioner’s Cup are proof enough that the PBA remains the country’s biggest sports entertainment program.
The assertion was made by Commissioner Chito Salud following a board meeting where broadcast partner AKTV revealed television ratings hit an eight-year high for the import-spiced tournament, and the application for a team by Global Port owner Mikee Romero was briefly tackled.
Salud said both factors are solid indicators that the league is "back in the consciousness of our fans."
“The board is taking these as real positive signs that the PBA’s place in sports and entertainment has been further strengthened the last two years,” said Salud.
Vito Lazatin, AKTV sports manager, said the last Commissioner’s Cup was the highest-rated conference in terms of audience share (based on actual TV sets during the survey period) and AMR (average per minute rating) since 2004.
The mid-season conference that ended in an epic seven-game title series between B-meg and Talk `N Text, showed a 10.3 share and an AMR of 2.8, beating the 9.3 audience share in the 2005 Philippine Cup (Ginebra-Talk `N Text) and 2.6 AMR reached during the 2008 Fiesta Cup (Ginebra-Air21).
Lazatin also reported that at one point of the overtime period of the tightly-fought Game Seven, there were more than four million viewers tuned in to the PBA for an AMR of 9.7 and a 27.4% audience share, beating the big three of GMA-7 (24%), ABS-CBN (19%) and AKTV parent network ABC-5 (17%) in Megamanila.
The Llamados won the championship, 90-84, before a huge 21,047 crowd at the Araneta Coliseum.
Salud said he also informed the board about the intention of Romero’s port terminal firm to become a member of the league in time for its 38th season.
Romero has yet to file a formal letter of intent to the Commissioner’s office, according to Salud, the reason why the matter was only taken up in passing during the board meeting.
"Mr Romero said he’s just finalizing all the company papers with his lawyers. But he told me in no uncertain terms, that he will join the PBA,” added the commissioner.
The next board meeting is set July 26.