Now in its 10th decade and heading into its centennial year, the goal is ambitious yet determined for the country’s oldest collegiate league.
“We hope we could be the leading league in the country,” NCAA president and Mapua CEO Dr. Reynaldo Vea said.
As they set out to fulfill their hopes, the NCAA turned to an old and long-time friend whom they have grown apart from the last three years. Officially last Monday, the country’s oldest collegiate league re-united with the biggest broadcast partner in ABS-CBN.
”I hope this is the start of a fruitful partnership with ABS-CBN for the years to come,” Vea said during the contract-signing ceremony.
The renewed partnership is initially set for 10 years beginning with Season 91. Talking about how important for the NCAA the initial length of the partnership is, Vea said, “It enables us to plan in the long-term and lend stability to the media aspect of the league.”
The key word for the league is the stability its old and long-time friend provides. As NCAA board member and Jose Rizal University president Dr. Vincent Fabella shared, “Late last year, the NCAA met and had internal discussions about the selection of our media partner and it became very clear to us that what we are looking for is a long-term partnership with the focus on developing the NCAA as a brand.”
Hearing ABS-CBN talk about what they promise to do, it’s clear that the rekindled partners are on the same page. “We’re going to start very carefully in trying to develop the NCAA brand,” Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena said.
He then added, “We’d like to study in the best manner how to help the league get back to its glory days.”
The NCAA and ABS-CBN’s first step in doing so is broadcasting games every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23. “Basketball and volleyball would be the key games covered, but let it be known that we will be covering the entire season in various ways and means,” Laurena assured.
Calming down fears that returning league NCAA will once again be overshadowed by longstanding league UAAP, Laurena said, “There’s room enough in this town for two leagues.”
He further explained that the NCAA’s schedule can only complement that of the UAAP’s which is traditionally Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. “We would like to keep appointment viewing in collegiate sports intact,” Laurena said.
Moreover, ABS-CBN promised collegiate fans that the two leagues will be produced in separate lights. “We respect the identity of the UAAP and the NCAA and we wish to be able to build the brands very differently from each other,” Narrowcast head March Ventosa said.
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