ABS-CBN has officially replaced long-time UHF network Studio 23 with a sports-oriented channel now known as ABS-CBN Sports + Action. The new channel, which begins airing today, will have 70 percent of its programming focused on sporting events like the UAAP, Philippine Azkals, NBA, Ultimate Fighting Championship and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. [caption id="attachment_80331" align="aligncenter" width="648"] ABS-CBN officials, led by March Ventosa (third from right) and Dino Laurena (second from right) pose with UFC fighter Cung Le (center) during the launching of ABS-CBN Sports + Action, their newest channel centered on bringing local and foreign sporting events. Also shown are Anthony Taberna for Sports+, Tina Marasigan, Jeff Gaitan for Showbiz, and TJ Manotoc for The Score. (Bob Dungo Jr.)[/caption] ABS-CBN Narrowcast head March Ventosa said that it is the perfect time for ABS-CBN to launch a sports channel on free television. “We believe that it is time to step up to the plate and produce the best free channel that will give sports the respect and attention it deserves,” Ventosa said during Thursday’s press launch at TGIS Friday’s in Glorietta Makati. Other programs that will continue to air on the new network are boxing matches of Top Rank and ALA promotions, UEFA Champions League and FIVB volleyball matches. The reformat ends the near two-decade run of Studio 23, which was launched in 1996 and has aired a mix of entertainment and sports programs.