NBA disappears from pay TV; Sky Cable, Cignal negotiating new deal
MANILA, Philippines—NBA fans among hundreds of thousands of basketball-crazy subscribers of pay TV providers Sky Cable and Cignal were greeted on Oct. 1 with an announcement that basketball channels BTV and NBA Premium are no longer available.
The announcement said Solar Entertainment, which was licensed by NBA to sell NBA programming to Cignal and Sky, had ceased its operations of the two channels that regularly aired NBA games due to the “expiry of the agreement with the NBA.”
In a statement, Sky and Cignal said they were jointly negotiating directly with the NBA to make games and programming available to millions of fans in the Philippines.
“We have submitted an offer to the NBA and are awaiting a response.”
A resident of a middle-class subdivision in Paranaque city, who is an avid fan of NBA and a Sky subscriber, said he had made it a point to stay tuned regularly to the NBA but was surprised when the channel assigned to carry the games showed only an announcement.
He said he had wanted to watch the exhibition game between the Houston Rockets, who now feature the superstar tandem of James Harden and Russel Westbrook, and the Shanghai Sharks.
Regular season games begin on Oct. 22.
While NBA content remained available on the internet, but he said it’s different when you watch on TV because “it’s what many have been used to.”
Watching on the internet, he said, “is like getting hostaged by streaming speeds.” “If your net is slow, it’s like watching everything in slo mo,” he said.
He said he hoped Sky and Cignal would soon have direct access to the NBA and not be dependent on any third party program seller.