ABS-CBN Sports heads to dugout as network begins layoffs
MANILA, Philippines – ABS-CBN’s sports department has shut down operations as the network starts laying off employees after being denied of a fresh franchise.
ABS-CBN’s head of Integrated Sports Dino Laurena took to Facebook Wednesday to make the announcement, saying his department has reached “the final buzzer”.
"So ends this journey… I made the painful announcement to our beloved Sports team today," Laurena wrote.
"I've been on this road before, and I can assure you, it is not something I will swear even on people I don't like. It is heart-wrenchingly painful," he added.
ABS-CBN Sports, through its sports channel Sports+Action (S&A), used to be home to two of the country’s main collegiate leagues — the NCAA and UAAP. It is also the official broadcast partner of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
The UAAP ended its contact with the network last May 31 and is reportedly in negotiations regarding an extension. The NCAA and PVL, for their part, have ongoing deals with ABS-CBN.
Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao’s Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, whose games are also aired by the network, already announced it is looking for a new TV home.
ONE Championship, Asia’s largest mixed martial arts organization, also has ABS-CBN as its home on Philippine television.
The S+A channel was the first business casualty of ABS-CBN after its retrenchment announcement earlier this week due to the company’s failure to secure a new 25-year franchise from Congress.
Included in the affected employees are TV production crew, digital team, writers, editors, camera men, commentators and hosts. – With report from John Bryan Ulanday