Newly-rebooted PPL looks to bring football closer to fans

Bernie Sumayao, commissioner of the PPL. Mariano V. Araneta, PFF President, Donald Lim, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Philippines, Chot Reyes, President of ESPN 5, and Ritchie Gannaban, Tournament Director of the PPL.
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

MAKATI—Expect to have a big boost in football in the country as the Philippine Premier League kicks off this year.

Bernie Sumayao, the commissioner of the league, has clear vision of where football in the country is heading to.

That's why he did not hesitate to come home and take the helm to reboot club football.

Speaking to the members of the press at the Fairmont Hotel, Sumayao said that the PPL aims to bring the sport closer to fans through projects that the league has never done before.

"We would have centralized matches, matches on which will be played in specific locations and would have massive community events such as concerts, fan engagements. We would be merging football with other forms of media," said Sumayao.

Sumayao is no stranger in building up and managing a football league as he was also involved in the start up of the now fully established Thai Premier League.

He hopes that the same success will follow suit for the Philippines as the PPL kicks off by the end of March.

"We will be retaining the format of the Copa Paulino Alcantara then we will also have the triple round robin format which will have a total of 27 games. There would be one live match in a week, which will be aired on 5 Plus every Saturdays at 7-9 p.m," said tournament director Ritchie Ganaban, who talked about the format of the league and how many teams are expected to feature in the league.

It is said that there will be about eight teams that will be joining the league. Final announcement of the teams will happen around February.

Compared to the predecessor of the league, PPL promises that the fans will enjoy more given that the reboot is a product of a collaboration with the fans themselves.

"We listen to the fans. In fact, our logo has been revised thrice because we listened to the fans." Ganaban said

"PPL aims to create increased fan engagement," added Sumayao

With the reboot of the club football in the Philippines, expect that there will be light in the development of the sport in the country.

It may take a lot of time and a lot of effort, but Sumayao says that the Philippines is not starting from scratch compared to how he was involved in working on the start up of the TPL.

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