‘Kapuso’ love, detailed bid send NCAA to GMA’s embrace
In the end, the NCAA decided that the love it would get from the Kapuso Network would be worth it.
Deciding to go with a “well thought-out” bid, the country’s oldest varsity tournament awarded GMA 7 official broadcast rights, spurning a richer offer from TV5, which is renowned for its sports programs.
In announcing its decision, Fr. Vic Calvo of host school Letran said “the NCAA deserves to be in the country’s No. 1 TV network.”
But the consideration went beyond the network’s reach and experience in the broadcast industry. TV5, which was looking at a monopoly of sports content after acquiring glamour college league UAAP, was the initial favorite to land the NCAA account. Not only was TV5’s offer more lucrative, the network was also well-versed in sports broadcasting.
TV5, in fact, has a glut of sports content in its portfolio. Aside from the UAAP, TV5 also has broadcast rights of the NBA, the Philippine Basketball Association and the Philippine Superliga. But it was this overflow of sports programming that first sent worries within the board. With schedules expected to be compressed next year due to lingering effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some NCAA schools were wary about their league being pushed out of prime time.
GMA 7, meanwhile, promised to treat the NCAA as royalty. The league is the network’s only major sports program so far.
TV5, sources told the Inquirer, hadn’t fully guaranteed the NCAA where it stood in the hierarchy and scheduling of the station and its affiliates.
“Bigger money from Cignal (TV5) but the channels would be shifting and there’s no detailed coverage plan yet,” the source said. “GMA’s offer was detailed and well thought-out. And they (GMA officials) laid [the details] out very well.”
The bidding was done through sealed bids, according to the sources, and there’s no way for the contending networks to outbid each other financially.
While sources have confirmed that TV5, indeed, produced the richer bid, it turns out that would not matter in the long run.
“[I]f you convert to pesos all the deliverables from GMA, it would have even higher value,” a source added.
A planned grand launch is in the works, according to the GMA 7 insider as the network reformats its UHF Channel 27 from GMA News Channel to GMA News and Sports Channel.
The league exposure will also extend to GMA 7’s other programs, while the basketball finals will be shown on the main channel.
Calvo said the network also promised to have coverage of not just basketball and volleyball games, but also track and field and swimming competitions.
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