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ESPN returns to the Philippines with TV5 deal

International sports broadcaster ESPN has returned to the Philippines after agreeing a partnership with commercial broadcaster TV5.

The long-term deal will result in TV5’s Sports 5 channel being rebranded as ESPN 5, encompassing all sports coverage on TV5.

In addition, ESPN will license to TV5 more than 2,500 hours of additional programming per year from its portfolio of sports rights, original programming and studio programs. The companies will also join forces to produce a daily Philippine edition of the SportsCenter sports news programme to air on TV5.  

ESPN5 and the SportsCenter Philippine Edition will air on TV5’s free-to-air television channels – TV5 and Aksyon 41.

On television, the ESPN 5 lineup will consist of TV5’s current sports rights portfolio, including the domestic PBA basketball league and International Basketball Federation (Fiba) events, as well as mixed martial arts promotion the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Thousands of hours of new sports coverage and content will be added from ESPN which include more than 70 NFL American football games per season. These include Monday Night, Sunday Night and Thursday Night Football games, as well as the entire NFL Playoffs, the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl. Alongside the live games, ESPN 5 will be able to feature ESPN NFL studio programming such as NFL Live.  

Other ESPN programming included in the ESPN 5 agreement includes: US college basketball, American football, baseball, softball and lacrosse; the X Games action sports event and US motor-racing series IndyCar.

ESPN and TV5 will offer a co-branded multi-sport ESPN 5 website and an accompanying ESPN 5 app to fans in the Philippines. The two companies will also jointly launch an ESPN 5 edition of the ESPN Player streaming service later this year, which will feature thousands of additional hours of live streaming content. 

At launch this will include hundreds of hours of National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball and football games, X Games and IndyCar content. Additional content, including domestic sports action will be added at a later date.

Vincent Reyes, president of TV5, said: “Our partnership with ESPN, long recognised as the worldwide leader in sports, gives us tremendous upside in the quality of sports programming that we bring to the market. ESPN strengthens our current position as the country’s sports authority.”

The TV5 deal sees ESPN return to the Philippines for the first time since 2013.