NCAA picks GMA-7 as new TV partner

Published November 20, 2020, 8:11 AM

by Waylon Galvez

The oldest collegiate league in the country has a new home.

GMA-7 is where they belong now.

After thorough deliberations, the NCAA Policy Board has decided to give the giant television network the broadcasting rights starting with the current 96th Season set to start either February or March next year.

“The new partnership commits “to ensure that the NCAA becomes the country’s premier interscholastic sports league in the country” with the “promise of national, local and worldwide audiences” through “GMA’s formidable multi-media platforms” in order “to provide the NCAA (with” unmatched reach and scale,” said in a statement issued by the NCAA Friday.

The league’s policy board, led by its president Rev. Fr. Clarence Marquez, OP of Season 96 host Letran, and Management Committee chairman Rev. Fr. Vic Calvo, OP, made the decision during an online meeting Thursday.

The partnership between the NCAA and GMA-7 is expected to be a five-year deal with the highlight on the league’s 100th year in 2024-25.

“As it approaches its centennial anniversary and being the country’s longest running league, the NCAA deserves nothing less than to be seen on the leading and dominant media network with proven impact and reach.”

The league pushed back its season opener to 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and with only four traditional sports, namely basketball, volleyball, swimming and athletics.

With the decision, GMA-7 edged TV5-CignalTV for the rights to cover the NCAA, which is expected to formally announce Friday its result of the board meeting. TV5-CignalTV recently announced its partnership with the UAAP, joining the PBA and NBA as the network’s official broadcast carrier.

The two networks presented their respective proposals in separate online meetings with the Policy Board and the Management Committee (MANCOM) late last year.

The board met to discuss and deliberate the proposed bids early this week. The NCAA is looking at a 5-year deal with the highlight on the league’s 100th year in 2024-25.

The broadcast company is expected to carry the games on its GMA News channel during the elimination games of basketball, while the playoffs will be shown on the network’s main channel, which is GMA-7.

The giant network is expected to also use all platforms, which also include radio and online pages, to promote the NCAA.

The league was left without a TV partner after ABS-CBN, which carries the games via its Sports and Action channel, failed to renew its franchise from Congress.