Pinoy sports fans find home online with sports.abs-cbn.com
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 25, 2018 01:41 PM
Mico Halili (left) and Dino Laurena (right) have been tasked to provide quality content and continue in the service of Filipino sports fans, worldwide.
Watching sports nowadays has gone beyond merely seeing the games live at the venue, or on television, as more and more viewers go online to watch sports events via livestreaming and read recaps and stories about their favorite teams and players, whenever and wherever they are.
Leading the way in providing Pinoy sports fans’ their daily fix of exciting or inspiring sports stories is ABS-CBN Sports’ website sports.abs-cbn.com, which has become the undisputed website of choice of Filipinos when it comes to sports news and features, despite only being launched back in October 2014.
Moreover, ABS-CBN Sports’ official social media accounts also enjoy strong following as netizens access them to get the latest sports news. Currently, ABS-CBN Sports manages the Facebook pages of ABS-CBN Sports, University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Sports, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Sports TV, and Premier Volleyball League (PVL), which have over three million followers. ABS-CBN Sports also has 1.1 million followers on Twitter, 80,000 on Instagram, and more than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.
ABS-CBN Integrated Sports head Dino Laurena said ABS-CBN Sports’ expansion to the digital realm began as early as 2009, when the sports arm of the country’s leading media and entertainment company came out with the video on demand (VOD) website UAAPSports.tv, which housed schedules, games, and highlights of the current UAAP season.
“When the internet became an important social factor, ABS-CBN, as a company, decidedly went for digitalization. As an organization, we’ve always been in tune with the times. It is important that we evolve because how else can we serve Kapamilyas better?” shared Laurena.
At that time, ABS-CBN did not have a dedicated sports website, and sports was just a subsection on ABSCBNNews.com. “The only offerings then were sports news. No livestreaming, videos, stats, standings, schedules, or photo galleries were available,” shared ABS-CBN sports hub editor-in-chief Lorenzo Manguiat.
After the UAAPSports.tv experiment, they launched BallsChannel.tv, which housed former ABS-CBN Sports properties in the defunct Balls Channel like the UFC, FIFA, and UEFA Champions League.
In 2013, the construction of a full-fledged sports website began and ABS-CBN Sports’ free TV channel, ABS-CBN Sports+Action or S+A was launched. Initially, the website contained recaps of a recent match, side stories, photo galleries, video highlights, and the schedules. The next challenge was to capture the younger audiences and find out what they want.
With more knowledge of its audiences’ preferences, ABS-CBN Sports improved its sections and introduced new offerings that draw sports fans to the site and make them feel at home on it, such as multi-cam livestreaming, a separate panel of commentators and analysts for livestreams, and more human-interest stories that truly inspire their readers.
Morever, it also initiated creative digital executions that extended the sports experience beyond merely watching the game like the “McDoBonfries” campaign in partnership with UAAP and McDonald’s. In 2017, the campaign crossed over from Twitter to Facebook for the full and exclusive livestream of the entire UAAP Cheerdance Competition 2017. Another example is the online sports show “Settling the Score” sponsored by Rexona, where host TJ Manotoc talks about NBA topics and highlights with guest analysts, athletes, and other sports personalities.
Currently, Laurena said that in terms of real local engagement, ABS-CBN Sports has the biggest footprint among other sports media. “We do coverage, stories, both within our properties and outside of it, so if we compare ourselves to other players in the digital space, they tend to approach that in a specific context only,” he shared.
Since its launch in 2014, ABS-CBN Sports has grown in traffic, reach, and video viewership through acquisition and integration of licensed properties, later becoming the country’s top sports website after it partnered with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2016 to operate NBA.com/Philippines. Filipino football fans can also look forward to top-notch world football action on ABS-CBN Sports, the exclusive content partner of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, as it airs all matches via livestreaming.
Things are only about to get better with the recent appointment of well-known sports writer and sports anchor Mico Halili as digital head of ABS-CBN Sports, who said that there are plans to give athletes and sports personalities a voice using the multi-platform setting to provide a more intimate look at the lives of athletes. “You want to give fans that emotional experience through digital when they’re watching the broadcast,” he said.
The focus on what Filipino sports fans want has helped ABS-CBN Sports find its way to the top. “We love our Filipino sports fans, so we are committed to find ways to serve them better. At ABS-CBN Sports, we endeavor to find what our Kapamilyas enjoy about sports so that we can give them a meaningful and authentic experience that they will remember,” Laurena shared.