THE postponement of the games due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a strain for the PBA financially.
The Philippines’ premier basketball league, like most private companies, has not been spared by the financial impact of the pandemic with commissioner Willie Marcial saying that the league is losing P30 million per month, based on his conservative estimate, since the 2020 PBA season was postponed due to the pandemic.
The amount, Marcial said, comes from gate receipts, TV revenue, and sponsorships which the PBA’s office uses for its operations. Even though money isn’t coming in, the PBA continues to spend as the league pays expenses such as salaries of employees.
“Patuloy pa rin kaming nagbabayad sa mga tao namin,” said Marcial during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum via video conference. “Nasa lagpas P30 million a month ang nawawala sa amin conservative.”
The P30 million figure doesn’t include the losses of its 12 teams, which continue to provide salaries for their players, coaches, and staff despite the postponement of the games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The operations recently resumed in the PBA with the league even conducting its first face-to-face board of governors’ meeting in their office in Libis, Quezon City. The PBA is also operating on a limited basis with its employees going to work on a staggered basis.
Even with the financial crunch in the league, Marcial said the league’s team owners and governors are keeping the league afloat financially during the tough times.
“Wala kaming magagawa. Sakripisyo talaga ‘yun. Wala kaming sinisisi. Wala kaming tinuturo. Ganun talaga eh. Kahit mga malalaking negosyo, tinatamaan talaga. Buti na lang, nandyan ang mga team owners at governors na tinutulungan kami,” said Marcial in the forum backed by San Miguel Corporation, Smart, Go for Gold, Pagcor, Amelie Hotel, and Braska Restaurant.
The financial hit could be reduced once the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) allows the PBA to hold its games during quarantine. With Metro Manila now under general community quarantine (GCQ), the league already submitted a formal letter to the IATF seeking to allow its 12 teams to resume practice under strict health protocols in order to prepare for the resumption of the season.
Gate receipts, however, are still expected to be affected once the season resumed. Even if fans are allowed, the IATF, based on previous guidelines, only allows 50 percent of the seating capacity of venues for mass gatherings in modified GCQ areas.
But Marcial said the focus of the PBA right now is to resume play and give its fans some sense of normalcy when the games are once again seen on television.
“Ang (importante), makalaro na tayo at makapagbigay ligaya sa fans. Kapag nakalaro na PBA, parang eto na ‘yung pag-asa. Nandito na ang PBA. Medyo okay na. Nagbibigay tayo ng pag-asa sa lahat na makita tayo at makabigay tayo ng saya. Marami na rin ang nananabik sa basketball,” said Marcial.