How ABS-CBN Shutdown Could Affect Philippine Sports

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ABS-CBN network goes black

If you have ever wagered on the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), or an NCAA, UAAP game, then you know how television brings the excitement of betting to life by watching events unfold before your eyes. On May 5th, the Philippines lost its leading broadcast network ABS-CBN under orders from the government to shut down.

ABS-CBN is a leading broadcast outlet that has been operating for over 25 years in the Philippines. In recent years the broadcast company has been at odds with President Duterte over issues concerning airing his campaign commercials and negative portrayals of his Presidency. ABS-CBN has been operating under a 25-year congressional franchise license. Its renewal is now in limbo since the hearings in Congress have been delayed due to the Coronavirus.

Many Filipinos see the shutdown as a result of the network being critical of President Duterte’s war on drugs. Media groups are even accusing the President of trying to silence the media. 

Effect On Sports

ABS-CBN has always had a focus on sports, including college games and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL). They also broadcast MMA fights in the ONE Championship league as well as the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) founded by Manny Pacquiao. PBA fans won’t have to worry as PBA games are now broadcast on FOX Sports. 

League officials for the PVL and NCAA have not yet reached out to other networks as they hope the ABS-CBN network will resume broadcast operations once the pandemic is over. ABS-CBN took to twitter after the shutdown to assure their viewers that they will continue on cable channels and online platforms. 

NCAA and PVL officials are concerned that their games won’t get the same viewership now that the ABS-CBN network won’t be available on local television or radio. Once the pandemic is over, it is unlikely that Congress will hear the case since President Duterte’s congress is filled with his loyalists. 

Online Betting Options

While viewing the games might prove difficult after the Coronavirus has run its course, there is no shortage of betting options for Filipinos. Online sportsbooks operating outside of the Philippines typically carry PBA games, but for college events, it is often hard to find betting lines. Domestic sportsbooks are not allowed to offer betting lines for events held inside the Philippines due to strict Philippine gambling laws

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