AFTER almost a five-year gestation period, the Philippine Football League launched to much hype last May, with eight teams from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Of all the teams, it is JPV Marikina and the Davao Aguilas that have so far made quite some strides; JPV Marikina for stunning the better-funded clubs to take the top of the table and for the Davao Aguilas for being the first to snag a name sponsor in San Miguel Corp.
As for the league, well, there have been some mis-steps but I was confident things would be looking up. Until I got hold of an insider who said the league is bleeding money with no infusion.
Twenty-two games into the new season, the league is under-staffed, under-marketed and some of the guys working haven’t been paid for two months.
Though there is a franchise fee of P10 million per team, not all of the teams have paid; had they all paid, it meant the league would have had an P80 million kitty.
“We’ve played 22 games only but we are spending too much,” said my insider, saying the bulk of the expenses goes to PTV 4.
The government channel gets paid between P400,000 and P1 million for every live telecast, depending on the location. That was a surprise since I thought PTV 4’s airing of the games was part of its support. I guess, you learn something new every day.
For non-live matches, I learned that PTV 4 charges “P68,000 for a one-camera setup whose quality is worth only P10,000.”
You don’t need to be an economist to know that spending more than what you earn doesn’t make for a sustainable living so I asked my insider if the league can sustain itself.
“It won’t be able to, for sure.”
Should the PFF or the fans start pointing fingers at this point? Maybe but then again, if we do that, then at some point in the future we can all look back and remember our own roles in how the league failed.
Or, we can start taking doing whatever we can to help the league.
Short of looking for a Bill Gates to sponsor the league, we can all help the people who are in charge of marketing the league by making some noise in Social Media. No, we don’t haul the PFF or the PFL to Twitter court, just follow the official accounts, participate in polls, increase their engagement and encourage your like-minded friends to do the same. To make the clubs in the PFL appealing to companies with money for marketing, you have to make sure that their sponsorship of the league can bring them dividends.
And of course, watch the home games. Look what happened to the four-year, P160-million deal between the Azkals and ABS CBN? Half-way through the contract, the home games were barely attended, which made for bad TV. Until now, the Azkals don’t have a TV partner.
There are sponsors and sponsors, do your part by becoming the best fan your own team can have. I know a couple who travel all the way from Gen. San to watch the Davao Aguilas games in Tagum. We need more fans like them. Heck, you can be one of them.