ABS-CBN Sports will cease to exist effective Aug. 31 as a result of the non-renewal of the network’s franchise by the House of Representatives last week.

The network’s head of Integrated Sports Dino Laurena confirmed the sad news in a post on his personal Facebook page on Thursday, describing it as “The Final Buzzer” for their sports division.

“And so ends this journey… I made the painful announcement to our beloved Sports team today. I’ve been on this road before and I can assure, it is not something I will swear even on people I don’t like. It’s heart-wrenchingly painful,” read Mr. Laurena’s post.

On Wednesday, ABS-CBN released a statement that it will be implementing a retrenchment program covering its subsidiaries as well effective Aug. 31, 2020, following Congress’ non-renewal of its franchise.  

ABS-CBN said that while it hurts to implement the retrenchment program, it was something it had to do to keep the company going.

Over 70 regular employees from the sports division are expected to be let go, including members of its TV production and online team. Also affected by the retrenchment are independent personnel (cameramen and crew) and talents like game commentators and show hosts.

ABS-CBN’s S+A channel has been home to a number sports leagues in the country, namely the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Premier Volleyball League (PVL) and Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

Also shown on the channel are events of international mixed martial arts group ONE Championship.

Aforementioned leagues said they were weighing their options in the aftermath of Congress’ thumb-down of ABS-CBN’s application for renewal.

The NCAA and the PVL still have live contracts with ABS-CBN, while the UAAP’s contract ended last May 31. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo