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NBA signs up Hispanic radio b’caster

About 63% of Latinos are fans, sez ESPN survey

The National Basketball Assn., eager to draw in more Hispanics as fans, has signed a deal with the Latino Broadcasting Co. that will funnel the 2002 Championship Finals to more than 100 Spanish-lingo radio stations throughout the U.S.

The Miami-based LBC bills itself as the No. 1 producer of radio broadcasts covering Spanish-language sports, news and entertainment.

The NBA already had arranged for Spanish-language commentary on the best-of-seven Finals to go out worldwide through NBA.com. The Finals kick off either June 2 or 5, depending on the length of the current best-of-seven conference finals.

63% say they’re fans

A poll taken by ESPN in December reported that about 63% of Latinos call themselves NBA fans, a number that represents 13% of the NBA’s total fan base. The NBA uses data like these to advance the claim that its has “the largest and fastest-growing Hispanic fan base among the four major U.S. pro sports leagues.”

Hispanic basketball players are playing a bigger role on the rosters of NBA teams, led by the 2001-02 rookie of the year Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, Eduardo Najera of the Dallas Mavericks, Felipe Lopez of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oscar Torres of the Houston Rockets.