THE NCAA has found a new home in GMA.
Now the country’s top television network which is trying to gain a niche in sports, GMA has recently signed a five-year contract with the NCAA that will last until 2026.
The deal will begin with the coronavirus-stalled Season 96, which the league is plotting to open early next year with only four sports in the calendar.
GMA has pulled off a reversal of sorts, as the giant network bested TV5, the crown jewel of Manny Pangilinan family of networks which has a vast experience in sports coverages, for the NCAA television rights.
The league was forced to look for a new home, as its previous coveror, ABS-CBN was shut down last July due to the failure to renew its congressional franchise by the House of Representatives.
The NCAA was in the middle of a 10-year contract with ABS-CBN that was supposed to expire in 2024.
NCAA Policy Board head and Letran president Fr. Clarence Victor Marquez, OP said that the country’s oldest collegiate athletic league is most happy and honored to enter into partnership with GMA at this most challenging time.
“We look forward with hope and excitement as we work together to form our young student-athletes to become the next champions and national athletes who will bring honor and glory to our beloved country, moving towards the league’s centennial year.” said Marquez.
The contract, which includes NCAA’s centennial year in 2024, will enable the league to cover centerpiece basketball and volleyball events, as well as swimming and athletics competitions, which GMA will also give airtime.
The NCAA games will be aired on GMA News TV, which is reportedly to be rebranded soon as a sports channel, and via online streaming.
The men’s basketball Finals will have its full coverage on GMA-7, which has a wider reach.
“We are excited that GMA Network is the new home of the NCAA. At the same time, we are grateful to the NCAA board for putting their trust in GMA to serve as a platform in showcasing the talented Filipino student athletes,” said GMA Network chairman and chief executive officer Felipe L. Gozon.
GMA used to have the rights of marquee Manny Pacquiao fights and was the home of the defunct V-League volleyball tournament from 2013-15.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA will only have basketball, indoor volleyball, swimming and athletics this season.