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PBA launches app to usher in 42nd season

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association ushered in its 42nd season, and a new age of venturing further into digital, with the launch of its own smartphone app, the league announced during the preseason press conference on Monday, November 19 at Makati Shangri-La.

The app is already available for free download on Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play.

"This app should be a lifestyle, it should be a habit," said this season's PBA chair Mikee Romero, who noted the league is eyeing a more interactive approach to connecting with its fans.

The app is part of the league's new direction toward reaching out to more of its digital-native millenial fans, as well as tapping into new audiences.

It is designed to become the source of all things PBA, from latest news and results to full schedules and standings, as well as team rosters, individual and team stats, and player biographies.

There's also a tab for stat leaders and all of the PBA's social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – can be accessed in-app.

Events and promos can also be accessed through the app, including the PBA Fantasy Basketball game.

Some future features that have yet to be launched include PBA Live, where games can be livestreamed, the PBA Store, the PBA Cafe, and a log-in option for users to be able to customize the news and push notifications they receive.

"In order for us to quantify or to look at how big the app can be, let's just say for example that there's an existing 5 million watchers of the PBA at any game in the traditional television, this app in two years' time we want to add another 5 million," Romero said.

"That's the type of app that we're looking at, if just to quantify it. I'm not saying that's the exact number of watchers of the PBA during regular games, but that's the kind of exponential growth that we want for this app."

The app is part of a number of changes the league is trying out for its 2016-17 season, which includes a potential full All-Star Week played regionally, a possible invitational for Asian club teams, and the removal of the import handicap system for the last two conferences.

These changes come at the heels of a season in which the PBA was criticized for its low gate attendance, with fans taking to social media to point out empty seats in game photos and suggesting their own ideas and innovations. – Rappler.com