No rivalry between UAAP and NCAABy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The collegiate athletic season is upon us.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will open its basketball tournament this weekend while the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) starts its own tournament on July 14.
It will be interesting how the supposedly rival leagues will market their players and tournament, especially now that the NCAA is with AKTV and the UAAP remains with ABS-CBN. The pitches will be interesting contrasts of how to say the same thing since both leagues cater to students, school communities and basketball fans in general.
There is actually no rivalry between the two because they reach out to specific school communities.
UAAP students will be naturally keen on what happens in their own league while the NCAA crowd will focus primarily on their own affairs.
This is the strength of each league which has stood in the path of any attempt to bring these two leagues together for one common tournament representative of Metro Manila college basketball.
The interesting battleground might be the social networks where Facebook and Twitter should be alive with comments and counter-comments from students and alumni. This could be an interesting indicator of how popular one league is by checking how lively a league social network is.
The competition for interest will be really for basketball fans in general. The UAAP schools have larger student and alumni populations and therefore could have bigger TV audiences. On the other hand, the NCAA may have smaller school communities but they are by no means less passionate than the UAAP.
Traditional rivalries maybe a little more intense in the NCAA with the San Beda-Letran matches or the San Sebastian-Letran or San Beda duels.
Even if fans have no connection with a school in either the UAAP or the NCAA, they will peek into the games at the coliseum or on television if the competition is at a high level.
Many elimination round games between lower seeded teams or those featuring the elite squads against the also-rans may not have audiences beyond the alumni of the schools. The interest will change once the playoffs kick in or when traditional rivalries like La Salle-Ateneo play out on TV.
The key maybe is for both leagues to market their players as interesting student-athletes. Their athletic performances will speak for themselves but audiences of all kinds will appreciate stories about the players.
The television production realities of today—tight airtime and the high cost of producing features—have restricted more profiles or stories about the players.
However, the smallest anecdote or vignette told by the sportscasters or flashed as a graphic will help spike interest in the performers of both leagues.
So here we go again with another collegiate hoop season. Enjoy. Cheer for the old alma mater. Bring out the pompoms and the school colors. Defend school pride with honor. Bring friends to the games, or if there are no more tickets, have a barkada party with lots of snacks and cheer like crazy in front of the TV. Don’t worry, let it all hang out. You’re among classmates and friends.
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