THE UAAP yesterday formally forged its partnership Cignal TV and Smart as the league navigates one of the biggest crisis in its 82-year existence.
Despite the cancellation of Season 83 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cignal TV and TV5 president and chief executive officer Robert P. Galang remains upbeat on the resumption of the eight-team collegiate athletic competition.
“We are committed to the UAAP, and we are even prepared to do a bubble if should have the games in 2021. As we’ve successfully aired the PBA games in the bubble, we are prepared to do the same thing for UAAP,” said Galang during the virtual press conference yesterday.
Regarding about the changes for the next tournaments, especially on the eligibility of the league’s student-athletes that were affected by the termination of Season 82 and the scrapping of Season 83, executive director Rebo Saguisag said the UAAP remains non-committal on the status on these players.
“Just like last year we took it one step at a time, it will be tackled at the right time. We also have another layer of wisdom. I am confident that we will have the right adjustment to address the concern of everyone,” said Saguisag.
Also present during the contract signing are Smart chairman Manny V. Pangilinan and chief executive officer Al Panlilio, Season 84 president Nong Calanog of host La Salle and Fr. Aldin Suan of Adamson.
Notwithstanding the challenges caused by the public health emergency that upended the UAAP tournaments, Saguisag hopes that the five-year partnership with Cignal and Smart will bore fruit.
“It was mentioned that the game has changed, and so does the way we consume sports. We will take UAAP to greater heights,” said Saguisag.
Panlilio, who is also Philippine Olympic Committee first vice president and Samahan ng Basketbol sa Pilipinas president, believes that the Cignal TV and Smart will further boost the league’s status as the glamour league.
“We’re very excited to be in partnership with the UAAP. This will be a groundbreaking partnership for us as we want to take advantage of this with Smart and give the UAAP viewers the excitement,” said Panlilio.
With a new partner, Calanog hopes that there will be more exposure for the league’s lesser-known sports on national TV. The centerpiece basketball and volleyball events remain as the UAAP’s biggest draws.
“Next month, we will be sitting with our partners to really discuss what sports we can take advantage of. So that we can give all our student athletes the opportunity to be seen,” said Calanog.
“There will be events that will be provided live coverage, but some will not be live and some will just be catch-ups. We are working very closely with the UAAP to determine which programs will be aired live,” said Galang.
With UAAP finally part of the network’s sports properties, Pangilinan vows to raise the bar higher regarding the league’s coverage.
“Our intention is also to increase the experience of the fans. We want to raise the profile of the players and the universities. We really look forward for the next season,” said Pangilinan.