OWNING a franchise in the PBA these days doesn’t come cheap, indeed.
Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy admitted he’ll be coughing out a total of P100 million for a franchise fee for his company to become the newest expansion ballclub of Asia’s very first play-for-pay league.
Sy, a certified basketball lover, said at least 30 percent of the total amount will be paid as soon as the league board approves Blackwater Sports' application to be the league's newest team.
“I am more than ready. This will in fact be a long-term participation. I believe in the marketing power of the PBA. I am seeing our company grow more in three to four years,” Sy said.
The franchise fee is believed to be at least a 40 percent jump from the time the league accepted a new expansion ballclub in Red Bull 14 years ago when the George Chua-owned franchise shelled out a total of P60 million.
Sy bared he normally spends P200 million in advertisement for all of his products that ranges from cosmetics, ready to wear, and household goodies. He owns the country's top cosmetics company, Ever Bilena, among other business ventures.
He added financing for his pro team will come from the same budget once it undergoes rechanneling.
“I am not worried. I am very excited on this new venture. We don’t feel the heaviness (of the budget) because we spend a lot in advertising. Basta same fund, just a portion shifted to the PBA,” said Sy, a star center of Uno High School during the 1973 to 1976 Tiong Lian season.
Spin.ph was fortunate enough to be given a tour by the amiable businessman/sportsman of his one-hectare factory in Kalookan City on Monday to show the busy production of his company, whose major products are Ever Billena and Blackwater.
And as passionate as he is about the game, Sy vows to come up with a highly competitive team that can vie for the championship in three to five years time.
“I am being realistic. I cannot easily win a PBA championship. Obviously, we are hoping to be in the Finals in maybe three or four years,” said Sy, who has won titles in amateur tournaments, including the D-League and the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
Sy also stressed the company is not in the PBA for the short term.
“Time frame for the team? We’ll go long-term. I don’t mind having this time until my next generation,” he added.
Asked if he is ready to go up against some of the country’s biggest companies which are also in the league such as San Miguel and the group of Manny V. Pangilinan, Sy was realistic but undaunted.
“Sa ngayon, saling pusa lang muna kami. They’re huge conglomerates. We still have to learn the ropes. Pero in time, I am sure we will be there (winning),” he said with a smile.
Sy also clarified that his partnership with San Miguel will be over once Blackwater gets the approval to become the newest team in the pro league.
Blackwater and the SMC group have a current partnership in the PBA D-League and earlier, in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
“No, we can never be a farm team. I have a credibility to protect, and besides, we don’t have a direct business partnership with them (San Miguel),” said Sy, whose first venture into big-time basketball came in 1997 when he formed the Blu Detergent team around Asi Taulava and Jimmy Alapag.
“Rest assured that we will be independent. They don’t have to worry and speculate. We will be independent,” he added. “It was just because of player trades from D-League to ABL kaya kami nagka-partnership noon (with San Miguel)."
Sy’s wife, Kristine, revealed how she has been praying hard for their company to finally be given the green light by the PBA board as the league’s 11th member.
“Pangarap talaga ni Dioceldo ang magka-team sa PBA. He really wants it. Sana makuha niya. I can see and feel his passion. He loves basketball, he plays and watches it with all his heart,” said Mrs. Sy.
“Dioceldo kasi believes that becoming a member of the PBA is every sportsman/businessman’s dream. He also feels that God’s hand is behind his decision to reach for this dream,” she added.