HAVING learned from the “missteps” of previous local club football leagues, the newly formed Philippine Premier League (PPL) is looking to have far better success when it officially rolls off later this year, banking on stronger fundamentals.
Launched last week, the PPL takes over from the Philippines Football League (PFL), which was up from 2017 to 2018, and looks to further cultivate the sport in the country “better prepared.”
Now under the stewardship of the group of marketing veteran and football aficionado Bernie Sumayao, the PPL is aiming to lead local club football to a new direction of sustainability, something previous iterations were not able to do.
“PPL is sort of a rebirth of the PFL. There were experiences there (PFL) that were difficult and challenging so we want to set a reboot and set it up again. We want to set up stronger fundamentals for the sport, the development of the players and the league itself,” said Mr. Sumayao, who had helped in the development of the Thailand Football League prior to dipping his hands in the PPL, at the league’s launch on Jan. 23 at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati.
“We are going back to the first phase, start on the right footing,” he added.
Mr. Sumayao said key to their thrust is exposure for the league, which is why it was important for them to find a TV partner for the games, finding it in ESPN5.
ESPN5 is set to air around 23 matches live, with highlights on ESPN5’s nightly magazine show, SportsCenter. Live streaming of matches is also being planned.
“Before there were no TV coverage and sponsors. This time we will have TV coverage because we really believe it would go a long way, which could lead to financial independence and security for the teams, allowing them to get investments,” said Mr. Sumayao.
The PPL will be holding the matches here in Metro Manila for now, making do without the home-and-away format which proved to be a financial burden for PFL teams.
The league instead will be played in a triple round-robin format, in accordance with standards set by the Asian Football Confederation, with matches to be held in various venues in the metro.
Mr. Sumayao though said that matches outside Metro Manila may be played down the line.
Also, instead of a franchise scheme, the PPL said teams will pay an annual registration fee that will be a fraction of the cost from the last two years.
Mr. Sumayao promised as well a festive atmosphere with live music and other attractions during match days.
The PPL is targeted to start in late March, with the league hoping to attract at least eight teams in its inaugural season.
Among those expected to see action are PFL League champions Ceres-Negros FC, Copa Paulino Alcantara holder Kaya FC-Iloilo, Stallion Laguna FC, and Green Archers United Globe.
Mr. Sumayao said doing reboot is not easy but they are determined to see their goals through for the good of the sport of football in the Philippines.
“We have no other agenda in doing this but to see the development of football. This is our passion and we want to ensure the longevity of the league,” the 59-year-old league commissioner said.
For more information on the PPL, follow it on Twitter at PhilPremLeague, Instagram at philippinepremierleague and Facebook at philippinepremierleague. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo