Present during the launching of Phl Premier League are, fromt left, PPL comnissioner Bernard Sumayao, football president Mariano V. Araneta, Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Donald Lim, ESPN president Chot Reyes and PPL tournament director Ritchie Gannaban.
Newly formed Philippine Premier League expands football reach
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Domestic club football gets a reboot with the revitalized Philippine Premier League (PPL) set to kick off as the country’s new top flight league.

Taking over from the Philippines Football League (PFL), the PPL aims to offer a competitive professional league that’s financially viable for clubs, fan-engaging, and more far-reaching especially with a broadcast partner in 5 Plus on board, than its predecessor.

“PPL is a new entity, it’s a rebirth, it’s a reboot,” PPL commissioner Bernard Sumayao said during yesterday’s press launch with Philippine Football Federation president Nonong Araneta, TV5 president and CEO Chot Reyes, and  tournament director Ritchie Gannaban.

“We’re in this because we have no other agenda than to see the development of the sport and be able to reach the same level as what we see around (Southeast Asian leagues) today.”

According to Sumayao, the PPL this year targets eight clubs, which will play on a triple round-robin league competition from March to December. 

To address the issues that beset the old league, he said the PPL will hold games per round in a centralized venue (Metro Manila in the initial salvo and possibly Bacolod and Iloilo in the next rounds) while getting LGUs and football-inclined agencies and clients involved. They plan to also create a “fun, festive football atmosphere” for fans at the venues through concerts, meet and geets.

Araneta said showing the matches on 5 Plus, including one live match every Saturday in the prime 7-9 p.m. timeslot will be a big boost to getting more and more people interested in the new league.

“It’s very beneficial to the clubs that we have a TV partner which is willing to invest in the league. Hopefully, this will bring in more interest to football in the country,” said the PFF chief.

Reyes reiterated TV5 and 5 Plus’ commitment to football, continuing what they started when they aired the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and bidded to broadcast the ongoing AFC Asian Cup.

“Our involvement with the PPL is a continuation of our passion for football. If we’re present in international competitions, we should be present in local competition also. We’re happy to do our share to spur further the development of the sport,” Reyes said.

As of now, Sumayao said 11 clubs that have shown interest in participating in the 2019 season, which features both league play and the Cup hostilities (named Copa Paulino Alcantara). They expect to finalize the field by Feb. 15.

FOOTBALL PHILIPPINE PREMIER LEAGUE PHILIPPINES FOOTBALL LEAGUE
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