ONE of the interesting things that came out in the Senate hearing for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise was when Sen. Bato dela Rosa said the network didn’t have the right to air, via PPV the megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, which if I remember cost an arm and a leg. I wished the cameras panned to Senator Pacquiao to see his reaction, but they didn’t.
Now, to be clear, the National Telecommunications Commission said ABS-CBN didn’t violate any rules but it’s curious why the network’s sports PPVs were questioned now when it has been doing it for more than a decade.
Among those dela Rosa mentioned, the series of Pinoy Pride boxing events it had with ALA. By the way, some were surprised that Pacquiao, a known Duterte ally, made it known he’s for ABS. I’m not surprised since in sports, we all know that the country’s hottest basketball league—the MPBL—is aired on ABS-CBN. Pacquiao’s baby won’t have a broadcast partner if ABS-CBN gets closed.
Over at the House of Representatives, the very busy Alan Peter Cayetano managed to find a break in his schedule to relaunch his exhibit on Kobe Bryant. I know we are a basketball country and that Kobe’s death affected some of us, but really? An exhibit at the House for the second time?
Jeez, I sure do hope footage of that won’t end up in the odd news section the world over. Why the relaunch? Simple. Monday was Feb. 24, 2020 or 2-24, the jerseys of both Kobe and his daughter. Also, on Feb. 24 in the US (Feb. 25, PHL time), Los Angeles will have its own public memorial for the fallen NBA legend. I guess the Speaker wanted to have his own memorial, again, after telling everyone else that the House is too busy to do lots of things.
Should we expect a Part 3 of Cayetano’s exhibit on Aug. 24 (8-24)? Which as early as days after Kobe’s death was being proposed by fans to be celebrated as Kobe Bryant day?
Kobe was famously, or infamously depending on your side, apolitical. I wonder what he’d think about an exhibit by a politician in such a political place as the House of Representatives.
By the way, the sports sector has been largely silent about the issue, but we have to give credit where credit is due. ABS-CBN boosted Philippine sports exponentially by establishing Studio 23, which later became ABS-CBN Sports. UAAP basketball grew by leaps and bounds because its games were aired live on Studio 23, so with volleyball.
The Azkals, too, got a boost during that four-year spell when ABS aired its matches. Who can forget Pacquiao in his prime? ABS aired his matches live, before he left for GMA 7 and most fans I met had the same sentiment, the ABS-CBN delayed telecast wasn’t that delayed compared to GMA 7’s.
Then of course, there’s the MPBL. I don’t think that without ABS-CBN’s reach, it would be as successful. I’m not going to comment on whether it’s a press freedom issue as it’s best left for the middle pages of this paper. But from the sports perspective, renewing the ABS-CBN franchise should be a no-brainer.