By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FANS of the National Basketball Association in the country face a possible huge void in their league fixtures after cable channels broadcasting them announced they will cease to broadcast and operate effective Oct. 1 this year after not being able to renew their contract with the NBA.
In an announcement posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday morning, Basketball TV said that the channel, as well as NBA Premium TV, will stop broadcast of NBA games and shows after the current contract of Solar Entertainment Corp. with the NBA lapses on Sept. 30.
Solar Entertainment operates the BTV and NBA Premium TV channels. The two are widely acknowledged as the go-to source for comprehensive NBA coverage in the country.
The development was confirmed by Paulo Fernandez, Solar Sports marketing manager.
“Yes unfortunately [we’ll stop broadcast]. We were not able to renew with the NBA and current contract expires Sept. 30,” Mr. Fernandez wrote in an online correspondence.
He, however, did not give further details on what went down in contract negotiations.
The surprising turn of events will mark an end to what has been a fruitful partnership between Solar Entertainment and the NBA spanning nearly two decades.
Started in 2001 of simply bringing NBA games to Filipino households, the NBA-Solar Entertainment partnership has grown considerably since then and is credited for its role in enhancing and growing the fan base of The Association in the country.
Apart from Solar, also broadcasting NBA games are ABS-CBN S+A and FOX Sports.
The NBA is reportedly the biggest property in the portfolio of Solar as far as sports is concerned.
The set-to-lapse contract between Solar and the NBA was for four seasons.
With the NBA now out of its roster of offering, Mr. Fernandez said they are moving on, focusing on their other properties.
“We still have our other channels so we will focus on ETC, Jack TV and Solar Sports,” he said.
According to reports several groups have expressed interest in picking up broadcast duties for NBA games, including ABS-CBN and TV5.
BusinessWorld reached out to the local office of the NBA for comment over the development but as of this writing it had yet to issue a detailed response.
The 2019–20 season of the NBA kicks off on Oct. 22.