ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5 join hands to air Pacquiao fight: Networks unite for historic broadcast

Abac Cordero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The biggest and richest fight in boxing history will also go down in the record books as “the most enormous coverage ever” in Philippine broadcasting history.

“It’s unseen in Philippine broadcasting and we are targeting the largest audience possible,” said Solar Sports president Wilson Tieng.

The men behind the country’s major broadcast networks have joined hands for a multi-platform and multi-channel airing of Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather.

The unprecedented deal among GMA-7, ABS-CBN, and  TV5  was announced during a press conference at the Solaire Resort and Casino yesterday.

The three networks will air the fight on a slightly-delayed basis. But on pay-per-view, through Cignal Digital TV and Sky Cable, it will be aired real time.

GMA-7 has waived its exclusive TV rights on Pacquiao fights for this fight.

“We owe it to the Filipino people,” said GMA-7 executive vice president Felipe Yalong during the well-attended press event.

“Previously, Pacquiao fights are aired on GMA-7 alone but in deference to the request of Manny Pacquiao himself, we agreed to this,” he said.

The fight will also be shown live and commercial free on all SM cinemas and the Mall of Asia Arena. For radio listeners, it’s GMA Radio.

Tickets to SM Cinemas nationwide will range from P600 to P1,000 while pay-per-view is priced at P2,000 per household.

Technically, it’s the biggest broadcast event ever in the country, even bigger than a presidential oath-taking.

“Everybody agreed to set aside all their differences to make sure that this will become the biggest event ever in Philippine television history,” said Tieng.

“This is a win-win-win-win solution. I don’t know how many wins I should say,” added the big boss of Solar Sports.

It was close to midnight in Los Angeles when Pacquiao went on Skype.

“Thank you very much to GMA-7, ABS-CBN, TV5 and Solar Sports. Salamat sa pagkakaisa ninyo na maipakita sa mga kababayan natin ang fight na ito,” he said.

Also on deck were Mike Enriquez of GMA-7, Dino Laureano of ABS-CBN, Chot Reyes of TV5, Oscar Reyes of Cignal and Edgar Tejerero of SM Lifestyle and Entertainment, Inc.

“It took two weeks and many sleepless nights to make this happen. At night time here we’re calling the US and at daytime here we’re bargaining with everyone,” said Tieng.

“But the most important thing here is that Manny Pacquiao played a great part here. He was the one who wanted this. Solar Sports can only take part of the credit,” he added.

In the United States, sports broadcast rivals HBO and Showtime have done the same to make sure the world gets to see the fight.

The fight which could generate as much as $400M in revenues will take place on May 2 in Las Vegas. The world waited six years for this fight to happen.

Solar Sports, which has covered Pacquiao fights the last 12 years, acquired the broadcast rights from the US promoters for a staggering $10 million.

It was not disclosed how much the broadcast networks paid to be part of the greatest show in Philippine sports history.

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