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Sogecable kicks up heels over soccer pact

Agreement runs from the 2006-07 season to 2008-09

MADRID — Spain’s main pay TV operator Sogecable has inked an exclusive three-year deal for nearly all live rights to soccer matches from the European Champions League, the continent’s premier soccer club contest.

The agreement runs from the 2006-07 season to 2008-09.

Sogecable, owner of satcaster Digital Plus, said the deal “substantially improves” the terms of the accord inked in 2003 between Sogecable and the UEFA soccer authorities.

Pact allows Sogecable to broadcast all Champions League matches live on pay TV save for one on Tuesday night. The first option for this match will go to an as-yet-unknown free-to-air operator in Spain.

Sogecable did not disclose the deal price.

The pay TV operator holds an exclusive first-option on Tuesday night games and an exclusive second choice to Wednesday games. It also airs Champions League matches on its niche sports channels.

That arrangement ends with the 2005-06 season.

Deal comes as speculation builds in Spain that its government will give a long-awaited thumbs up to Sogecable’s new nationwide analogue terrestrial broadcaster at its final Cabinet meeting in the last week of July.

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