Cignal, Basas run to Filipinas aid, seal World Cup TV deal
There was jubilation all over sports-related social media pages following the surprise announcement that Cignal TV was able to secure the rights to air the Philippine women’s football team’s maiden appearance in the Fifa Women’s World Cup on free television.
The 11th-hour deal to spare local sports fans from the dreaded prospect of failing to see the Filipinas in the most accessible medium possible had been in the works for weeks.
“We recognized the demand Filipinos have for this quadrennial event and we at Cignal TV always want to be able to bring the best experience to all our viewers,” said Jane Basas, Cignal TV’s president and CEO.
The three group stage matches against Switzerland on July 21, cohost New Zealand on July 25 and Norway on July 30 will be aired on UHF channel One Sports and will be streamed on the new Pilipinas Live app.
The deal should satisfy local sports fans, who weeks ago were left enraged when an Inquirer story came out revealing that no Philippine broadcaster had been in serious negotiations regarding the World Cup rights.
Fifa’s preference to have a larger deal had also put in danger the broadcast of the World Cup games in some parts of Europe and Japan, although the world governing body came into terms with those parties a few weeks ago.
As it turns out, Fifa had fallen one-third short of its goal to reach a total rights fee of $300 million, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
“Cignal stepped up and made sure that the Filipinas’ historic campaign will be available in the Philippines,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta.
The TV deal came on the day the Filipinas’ friendly match against Sweden ended in a 5-1 defeat in Wellington, a game that no one outside of both squads was able to watch.
In fact, the team said that coach Alen Stajcic did not discuss details of how the tuneup match turned out, even the manner of how the lone Philippine goal was scored. INQ