Sunday, March 08, 2009

SBL broadcast off again

A bad news for those fans like me who couldn't or didn't want to make it to the gym and watch actual SBL action: the game broadcast was out again after ESPN Taiwan unilaterally terminated the verbal agreement with the SBL Committee.

Well, this is not the first time we hear that. ESPN Taiwan agreed to broadcast SBL games about a month ago after Videoland walked out of its VERBAL agreement with the league on January 16.

The keyword here is VERBAL. These people are all businessmen. And if you are a businessman, the ground rule of all deals is that you have to put them on papers and names of both sides on the dotted lines. American high school basketball prospects walked out of oral commitments and sign with other schools, so why can't Videoland and ESPN Taiwan? Even an idiot like me knows that but not these folks.

ESPN Taiwan, a cable TV channel, cited that the SBL Committee was privately working on a deal to have a terrestrial TV station as its broadcast partner, which ESPN Taiwan claimed a breach of agreement.

Eric Sports, SBL's marketing partner this season, said in a press release that both sides agreed last month to reach the final deal before April 30 but ESPN Taiwan refused further negotiation.

It did not say when the game will be on air again.

In short, both sides said different things and had different memos on their hands. Nobody knows the truth and the negotiation process, and I doubt that anyone is interested in it. What fans want is to have the broadcast back. Simple as that.

The SBL said in its press release that ESPN Taiwan's walkout was "a humiliation for local sports". From what I've seen, the SBL was fortunate to find a broadcast partner and it's been a buyers' market amid the global financial crisis. It's only natural that the TV stations have the upper hand.

And if this is what it takes for SBL teams and the CTBA to realize that, I wouldn't mind that SBL games are off air.