Vintage appeals for sobriety
- Joaquin M. Henson () - January 10, 2000 - 12:00am

Vintage Sports Chairman Carlos (Bobong) Velez yesterday appealed to losing bidder GMA-7 to accept the finality of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Board of Governors decision awarding the league's TV and radio rights for 2000-2002 in the spirit of sportsmanship.

The PBA Board held four marathon meetings in two weeks before deciding to award the rights to a consortium made up of Vintage, Viva Films, Argosy Partners and the International Management Group over GMA-7 on a vote of 6-2 with a single abstention last Dec. 29.

Initially, GMA-7 executives Butch Jimenez and Bobby Barreiro congratulated the consortium for bagging the contract. But a week later, GMA-7 issued several press statements questioning the PBA Board's decision.

Velez said he was surprised by the turnaround. "Butch and Bobby are gentlemen of the first order," he said. "I thanked them for congratulating our group after the PBA Board announced its decision. I knew they were sincere. But I understand there could have been orders from others in the GMA-7 hierarchy to express discontent in losing the bid. My appeal is to avoid mudslinging. Why try to smear Vintage's reputation? We stand by our reputation of integrity -- a reputation we've painstakingly built for years. We've been transparent and upfront in all our dealings with the PBA, our advertisers, the media, and our colleagues in the industry -- this has been, is, and will always be our policy."

Velez took exception to GMA-7's claim that the IBC-13 Board had not approved a resolution to commit air time for the Vintage group in the next three years.

"There is no doubt as to IBC-13's commitment," stressed Velez. "It is contained in an IBC-13 Board resolution. A separate letter from IBC President Boots Anson-Roa confirmed it."

Velez said before the bidding started, the presentors signed a document recognizing the PBA Board's decision as "final and unappealable." And in his letter inviting networks to bid, PBA Commissioner Emilio Bernardino said, "the PBA Board of Governors reserves the right to reject any and all offers and has the sole discretion in determining the eventual franchisee."

The Vintage consortium won the rights on a bid of P770 million plus P750 million in merchandising values for three years. GMA-7's bid was for P820 million plus P600 million in cross-promotions. In the end, what spelled the difference was Vintage's 18-year track record, experience, goodwill, and expertise in delivering a tested quality of coverage.

ARGOSY PARTNERS BOARD BOARD OF GOVERNORS BUT I BUTCH AND BOBBY BUTCH JIMENEZ AND BOBBY BARREIRO COMMISSIONER EMILIO BERNARDINO GMA PBA VELEZ
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