MANILA, Philippines—It is a relationship that one could say has come full circle.
The Inquirer forged a partnership with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) as part of a commitment to bring the sport closest to the Filipino’s heart to a wider worldwide audience and provide local fans with basketball updates and a peek at the lives of their favorite stars.
For starters, INQUIRER.net will now be the host of the official PBA website.
Inquirer Interactive president Paolo Prieto and chief operating officer Gary Libby signed on Jan. 16 the contract with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, formalizing INQUIRER.net’s role in running the pro league’s website for 2013.
Present at the contract signing at Smart Araneta Coliseum were Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and group sales director Pepito Olarte, and INQUIRER.net advertising head Kenny Nuyda.
For the Prietos, the partnership is somewhat nostalgic. The family is part of the league’s history, with Leo Prieto serving as the PBA’s founding commissioner.
The partnership gives Inquirer.net the opportunity to help in bringing excitement to wherever the Filipino is, according to Paolo Prieto.
“We’re very excited with the partnership,” he said. “Already the website has generated a lot of views; as you can see, the PBA is really alive online.”
Prieto hinted at bigger things for the website, which offers the latest updates, schedules, standings and statistics about the league.
“We’re excited with the real-time stats and contents, and all the developments in the league that are on the website,” he said. “I think it’s a good partnership, with the global community that Inquirer.net has.”
Salud also welcomed the partnership, even as Prieto said the company was seeing it as a long-term project.
“We’ve reengineered the website to be more up-to-date to accommodate a huge number of page views while expanding the content,” he said.
“Sports is something that Inquirer.net has always looked at and basketball is close to Filipinos’ hearts. We want to bring the excitement to everywhere the Filipino is.”
The partnership doesn’t stop there. The Inquirer will also produce the league’s annual for 2013.
Titled “Hardcourt,” the repackaged annual will focus on stories on the different teams, features on the league’s marquee players and other interesting tidbits for the fans.
The annual is like carrying a piece of PBA history, with all-time records, statistics and even a directory of players included in every edition.
Also, Inquirer Libre and the PBA have paired up for a monthly free newspaper that will exclusively talk about the league—updates on games, sidelights, league events and features about the top superstars.