Spanish soccer staying at Sky

Satcaster will broadcast 60-70 La Liga matches a year

U.K. satcaster BSkyB has reupped its deal for exclusive, live U.K. TV rights to Spanish league soccer for three seasons, for a reported E30 million ($38.6 million), four times more than the prior contract.

Sky Sports, BskyB’s premium sports bouquet, will broadcast 60-70 La Liga matches a year, at least two matches a week, over the 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Deal also includes broadband Internet rights.

With movies being made available on many other platforms or pirated, live sports coverage has become the major subscription driver at satcasters.

Irish broadcaster Setanta recently picked up two U.K. Premiership soccer TV packages from 2007-08. BSkyB won’t have wanted to lose another staple of its weekend evening soccer sked.

The Spanish league has some of Europe’s top soccer stars.

“With Ruud van Nistelrooy and (Italy’s) World Cup-winning captain (Fabio) Cannavaro joining David Beckham at Real Madrid and (Eidur) Gudjohnsen, (Lilian) Thuram and (Gianluca) Zambrotta joining the European Champions Barcelona, there will be great interest in La Liga,” said Sky Sports managing director Vic Wakeling.

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