B'caster betting on sports to drive takeup of signal

New Spanish terrestrial broadcaster La Sexta has bought exclusive free-to-air TV rights for Spain to the 2006 Fiba Basketball World Championship, with Spanish NBA star PauGasol as guest commentator.

La Sexta is betting on live sports to drive takeup of its signal, which requires Spaniards to adjust their antennae or buy digital terrestrial TV set-top boxes.

La Sexta, which launched late March, bought Spanish TV rights to the World Cup soccer tourney, under way in Germany.

Channel said its transmission of games raised its market share to 5.9% last weekend vs. a market share of 0.6% for May.

The Basketball World Championship runs Aug. 19-Sept. 3 in Japan.

After soccer, basketball is Spaniards’ favorite sport. Announcing the deal Monday in Barcelona, La Sexta channel director Antonio Garcia Ferreras said La Sexta will broadcast nearly all the championship games.

La Sexta is controlled by Spanish production company Arbol-Mediapro and Mexico’s Televisa.

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