UAAP, NCAA, other leagues find themselves with no network to air tournaments

July 11, 2020

A slew of leagues including the two biggest collegiate groups in the country found themselves 'homeless' after ABS-CBN's bid to get a 25-year congressional franchise was dumped the other day by the House of Representatives.

Taking a big hit in the turn of events are the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and National Collegiate Athletic  Association, which had the television giant's sports channel S+A 23 as its coveror for a long time now before going off the air following its failure to get a new franchise.

All of a sudden, the UAAP and NCAA were left with no network to air their tournaments, which were rudely interrupted  by the coronavirus pandemic that sent the sporting world grounding to a halt starting in the last few days of March.

Although the league sympathize with the embattled giant network, executive director Rebo Saguisag said that the UAAP Board of Trustees will have the final say on its partnership with ABS-CBN.

“We commiserate with our long-time partner, but this is ultimately a business decision,” said Saguisag sportswriters.

“The UAAP Board will have to make their best judgment based on facts and information available to them,” he added.

The UAAP's five-year contract with ABS-CBN has expired last May.

The NCAA, for its part, said that the league would wait for the course of action its broadcast partner.

“We’ll wait for them on what they’ll do moving forward, or after the (Congress) decision. What are their plans and options now,” said NCAA Management Committee chairman Fr. Vic Calvo.

Signed in 2015, the NCAA existing 10-year deal with ABS-CBN was supposed to end in 2024, when the league celebrates its centennial.

Calvo said that any decision regarding the league's TV contract is up to the Policy Board, and the Managment Committee can only make recommendations.

“We have a good relationship with ABS-CBN, that’s why – as I’ve mentioned – we’ll wait for them,” said Calvo.

The UAAP and NCAA will open their respective seasons early next year.

Other properties of the popular sports channel include MPBL, PVL, ASEAN Basketball League and ONE Championship.

The network was shut down on May 5, a day after the company’s previous 25-year congressional franchise expired in compliance with the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Tuesday that prohibits ABS-CBN from continuing its broadcast operations across the country.