DON’T look now, but guess which network has expressed interest in acquiring the broadcast right for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) once its television contract with current coveror ABS-CBN Sports expires a year from now?
It’s no less than Sports5 itself.
A UAAP source told Spin.ph Sports5 had made its intention known to the league through a letter of intent which is already in the hands of the league board.
“Nagpadala na ng sulat ang TV5,” the source confirmed to Spin.ph.
Curiously, the interest shown by Sports5 came just as its three-year television contract as coveror of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is set to expire at the end of Season 90 (2014-2015), or about the same year ABS-CBN finishes its current five-year deal with UAAP.
The letter of intent only shows the seriousness of Sports5, owned by business mogul Manny V. Pangilinan, to add the UAAP to its lineup of programming that already includes the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), and United Football League (UFL), and the rights to air the Summer, Winter, and Youth Olympic Games.
ABS-CBN Sports' five-year deal with the UAAP expires next year.
The collegiate league, however, is not expected to immediately act on the letter of intent owing to a clause in its contract with ABS-CBN Sports prohibiting it from entertaining any interested parties until talking to the giant network’s sports division.
“We are not allowed to read it (letter of intent) until we have talked with ABS-CBN,” said the source.
Sports5 is also expected to face tough competition from ABS-CBN Sports as well since the network is deadset on extending its standing TV contract with the collegiate league, according to the same source.
The source said the network owned by the Lopezes is re-negotiating its deal with UAAP especially with the advent of its new sports channel ABS-CBN Sports+Action which recently replaced Studio 23.
ABS-CBN Sports+Action reportedly has also offered to broadcast more games of other UAAP sports.
“We have formed a committee to review. We will be meeting with ABS-CBN regularly now,” the source added.
A UAAP board member who refused to be named told Spin.ph he’s not in favor of moving the games to another network, even if TV5 offers a substantial amount, since it was ABS-CBN that brought the league to greater heights.
“We are comfortable with that (ABS-CBN). But who knows?” said the board member.
Sports5 also has major issue to resolve within its own backyard.
The network was recently under fire from basketball fans for its coverage of the PBA for its confusing timeslot and programming both at TV5 and UHF channel Aksyon 41.
But Sports5 management said the lineup of its new programming for the year is bound to be more stable, which may include the showing of both PBA games live on primetime on TV5.