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Audiovisual Sport sues Mediapro

Company accuses unit of nonpayment

MADRID — With just four days before Spain’s soccer league kicks off Saturday, sports rights company Audiovisual Sport announced Tuesday night that it has sued Mediapro for alleged nonpayment of e58 million ($78.3 million).

Sum represents partial payment for free-to-air rights over the 2006-07 season and beyond, which Mediapro bought and then passed on to broadcaster La Sexta, which it co-owns.

AS, which is controlled by Spanish pay TV leader Sogecable, added that broadcast rights to the opening game, featuring Seville and Getafe, are free to be purchased by any broadcaster.

Minutes later, Mediapro struck back, announcing Sogecable owed it $43.2 million.

Somehow, most probably, some agreement will be patched together to allow Spaniards to watch the new season of soccer.

But with Sogecable and Mediapro controlling rights to different clubs this season, the process of figuring out how — and at what price — they divvy up free and pay TV transmissions is likely to go way into overtime.

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