SEVERAL PBA team owners and members of the board want assurance that league games be shown on a VHF channel once TV coveror AKTV ends its block-time agreement with IBC 13.
Rain or Shine co-team owner Raymund Yu, for one, said that once the league’s official coveror makes the switch, he stressed that `it should be to the most accessible channels.”
“Sana dun pa rin sa mas mapapanood ng nakakarami,” said Yu, who along with co-owner Terry Que, believes in the power of the PBA as a great marketing and promotional tool.
Television channels of the VHF range are the most common and accessible even with old TV units. In the country, the VHF channels are 2, 4, 5, 7, 9,11 and 13, where the current PBA coverage under AKTV is being aired since 2011.
Last week, MediaQuest Holdings Incorporated chairman Manny V. Pangilinan announced that the company won't renew its block-time contract with IBC 13 when it lapses in May.
However, new Sports5 head Chot Reyes has assured the public in a Spin.ph interview that live coverage of the games will not be compromised despite the switch, although he declined to go into details.
Reyes said AKTV is contractually obligated to show the games live on free television, but acknowledged that inserting the live PBA broadcast in the already heavy programming of TV5 - a Pangilinan-controlled station - may not be possible.
But Reyes hinted the finals games of the current Commissioner’s Cup may be aired on TV5.
As to where the games would be shown at the end of the IBC 13 deal, Reyes said: "Yan ang ginagawan pa ng paraan."
Even league commissioner Chito Salud said he is watching the developments closely as the channel switch nears.
Salud said he is looking forward to sitting down with officials of Sports5 to discuss the matter and “listen to their proposal."
“Obviously, my primary objective is to ensure that the PBA games continue to be accessible to the TV viewing fans. Our games belong to our fans,” the commissioner stressed.
Barako Bull team manager Raffy Casyao agreed that a VHF channel is still the only option for the PBA coverage.
“Mas wider pa rin ang reach ng mga channels dun (VHF), hindi naman lahat naka-cable at hindi lahat capable ang TV sa mas matataas na frequencies,” said Casyao.
“(We’d still prefer) a local channel siyempre,” said Alaska board representative Joaqui Trillo in a text message to Spin.ph. “(Dapat) `yung may nationwide reach so more people can watch the games.
"Yung may strong signal especially sa probinsya,” he added.
Under the contract signed by the PBA and its present coveror, games of the league should be aired over VHF channel. Any changes should be approved by the board, said San Mig governor Rene Pardo.
“Otherwise, if there are plans to transfer it to UHF, it has to pass through the board,” Pardo said.
During the final year of its contract with the league, former PBA coveror Solar Sports entered into a co-production agreement with giant network ABS-CBN to air the games on UHF channel Studio 23.
The set-up reportedly cost Solar Sports an undisclosed amount in penalties from the league for reneging on their original deal.