Following his announcement that TV5 has partnered with the U.S.-based global cable and satellite sports channel ESPN, which effectively rebrands the network’s “Sports 5” programming as ESPN-5, TV5 president Vincent “Chot” Reyes clarified that it does not necessarily mean the end of entertainment shows on TV5.
“I think the fact that we’re on free TV means that we will continue to have entertainment shows,” Reyes told InterAksyon during the press conference that officially launched the partnership at Snaps Sports Bar at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
Among the shows that will continue to air on TV5 are Hollywood-produced films and television series that are dubbed in Filipino.
“Among these shows are ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘Supergirl,’ and ‘Arrow.’ These shows enjoy a very good following yet the cost of producing the dubbing of these shows is very low,” Reyes shared.
As for locally produced programs, Reyes noted that at least one, “Brillante Mendoza Presents,” will continue to be on the air as he also hinted that they will soon be announcing a new project involving the internationally acclaimed filmmaker.
But while entertainment will still be a part of TV5, Reyes stresses that the ESPN 5 rebranding reflects the network’s shift of focus from traditional entertainment to sports and news programming.
“I think the most important thing is our positioning in the minds of the people, consumers and advertisers that the one arena we can excel is sports and news,” he pointed out.
“What we saw in the past years that we’ve been here is that being the number 3 network is not profitable, it doesn’t make business sense. We just have to do what’s good for the business.”
As ESPN 5, Reyes sees a big chance for the network to excel and be number one.
“Our partnership with ESPN, long recognized as the worldwide leader in sports, gives us tremendous upside in the quality of sports programming that we bring to the market. ESPN strengthens our current position as the country’s sports authority. It is also a testament to our belief that the Filipino audience deserves the world’s best in sports content and programming,” Coach Chot noted.
On TV, the ESPN-5 lineup will consist of TV 5’s current sports rights portfolio, including the PBA, FIBA competitions, GILAS, UFC and the PSL, along with thousands of hours of new sports coverage and content from ESPN which include more than 70 NFL games per season.
These include “Monday Night,” “Sunday Night” and “Thursday Night Football” games, as well as the entire NFL Playoffs, The Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. Alongside the live games, ESPN 5 will be able to feature award-winning ESPN NFL studio programming such as “NFL Live.”
In total, ESPN will license to TV5 more than 2,500 hours of additional programming per year from its portfolio of sports rights, original programming and studio programs. The companies will also join forces to produce a daily Philippine edition of the iconic “SportsCenter” to air on TV5.
Other ESPN programming included in the ESPN 5 agreement includes original, award-winning ESPN studio programs including “Around the Horn” and “Pardon The Interruption” ; U.S. College Basketball (including the March Madness NCAA Championship Tournaments); “X Games,” the premier action sports and youth lifestyle competition globally; ESPN’s “Big Fights” library, including many of the greatest boxing fights of all time; ESPN Films’ multi-award winning sports documentaries (including the “30 For 30” series); major conference American college football (including the College Football Playoff and National Championship and comprehensive coverage of the college football bowl season); “IndyCar Racing” (including the iconic Indianapolis 500); and NCAA college sport championships from baseball, softball, lacrosse and football.
As for the cost of acquiring all of this quality sports content, Reyes assured that everything ESPN is providing TV5 comes at “a very affordable price” without stating the exact figures. With regards to how he expects the public to respond to ESPN-5, the TV5 chief is optimistic that at the very least, the network can expect a “niche following.”