THE latest Sports5 proposal that will have PBA games being aired live via UHF channel Aksyon TV 41, with parallel broadcast of some matches on TV5, faces opposition from some team owners when the PBA board convenes on Thursday to vote on the issue.
Sports5 had to find a new home for the PBA coverage after ending its block time agreement with IBC 13 last month, but it is having a hard time convincing the board that TV5's sister channel on the UHF band has the same reach as the major free-television channels.
One team owner who is against the proposal was even candid enough to admit that he doesn't even know that the channel exists.
“Iba pa rin yung regular channel kesa doon sa UHF channel,” said Rain or Shine co-owner Yu. “Personally, hindi ko alam yung channel na pagdadalhan. Ano nga pala ulit name nung channel na yun?”
While Sports5 has also offered to broadcast the games on TV5, the station's sports arm is having a hard time squeezing the PBA coverage into the station's already loaded prime time programming.
That's the reason it has proposed that Sunday double-headers be played in the early afternoon - in the 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot - and weekday matches be played 30 minutes late than the usual 5:15 p.m. start time.
Sports5 has also offered to broadcast the second game of Wednesday and Friday double-headers live over TV5 beginning at 8 p.m., with the first game shown on a delayed basis beginning at 10:30 p.m.
[See related story: Sports5's new broadcast proposal puts PBA in Sunday showdown with UAAP games]
Representatives from the 10 member teams will vote on the proposal on Thursday afternoon but this early, some team owners have already voiced opposition to the Sports5 plan.
One team official fears the planned wholesale changes on the TV broadcast will disenfranchise a lot of PBA viewers and derail the gains made by the pro league the past years.
“With all the improvements ng PBA, we don’t want to jeopardize it. Lumalabas kasi in just a snap of a finger papalitan ang schedule and almost everything,” said the official who requested that he not be named.
“Hindi lang naman isang taon na pinaghirapan ng PBA na i-angat ang popularity ulit. Kita mo pumipick-up na ang fan base ng ilang teams like Rain or Shine, Barako, Air 21. Tapos biglang mababago schedule at channel, sabay pa,” added the official.
“Kaya kontra kami dyan.”
The team official said the end of the weekday schedule may be too late, especially for the league's young fan base.
“Masyadong mapupuyat ang mga estudyante na fans namin. Anong oras na matutulog? Paano rin yung mga manunuod sa venue?” he asked.
Yu, for his part, said the 2:30 p.m. tip-off on Sundays is ‘too early for primetime basketball," adding families are still out malling or going to church during that time.