PPL commish promises no hidden agendas with Philippine club football reboot
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 23, 2019 12:34 PM
"We don’t have any other agenda, we don’t have any financial agenda. Our agenda is to be able to reach the same level as what we see around us today, the other leagues around the region. That is truly the goal of the PPL." - PPL Commissioner Bernie Sumayao
The Philippine Premier League (PPL) was officially revealed, Wednesday morning at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati, with commissioner Bernard Sumayao among those spearheading the introduction of the newest chapter in Philippine club football.
Sumayao, has had three decades of experience in media and content rights, as well as football in Thailand, and will be bringing his experience and expertise into the new league.
The Thailand-based Pinoy also promised that the PPL's main objective is to simply develop the sport and help elevate Philippine club football to the standards similar to that of the other football-crazy Asian nations, just like Thailand.
"The PPL is a new entity. It is a rebirth, it is a reboot, we are in this because we have no other agenda than to see the development of the sport," Sumayao expressed during his opening statement. "We don’t have any other agenda, we don’t have any financial agenda. Our agenda is to be able to reach the same level as what we see around us today, the other leagues around the region. That is truly the goal of the PPL."
The PPL takes after where the United Football League and the Philippines Football League left off, with the two prior iterations of a Philippine club football league needing to fold after just a few years of operations.
Sumayao is hoping to be able to exceed the lifespan of both previous leagues, and he says that an integral part will be increasing fan engagement.
"The other thing that we want to do is to increase fan engagement, that is because the fans here, the long-suffering fans of Philippine football, who should be recognized, there is a lot of frustration on their part," explained Sumayao, who admits to spending at least an hour every day, just reading through reactions and comments on social media with regard to the state of football in the country.
One other step that Sumayao touched on is intertwining the sport with various other media platforms in order to enhance the fan experience and hopefully draw in new spectators as well.
"We also have an idea about merging the sport of football with other media, for example, music, We have plans to join up with certain companies that have access to music, and why not? If we look at the demographics of football now, most of them are young people, kids as young as 12 years old all the way to 25 or 30, and that’s perfect for music, so the collaboration between music and sport is an interesting one. It has been proven in certain markets, and I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen it grow."
The PPL is targeting a March opening, with eight teams set to play a triple-round robin format. The tournament is expected to run until December.