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Telemundo pacts for Mexico soccer

Net nabs broadcast rights to premiere matches

NBC U’s Telemundo is bolstering its ratings-winning sports programming with premiere soccer matches from Mexican media conglom Grupo Televisa.

Pact, which was announced Sunday, provides Telemundo with the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to all the soccer matches played at the home stadiums of six of Mexico’s premiere teams.

Telemundo will have rights to air the games beginning Monday, Sept. 29, and running through Dec. 31. Broadcast will also include matches from the playoffs, semifinals and final for the Mexican National Championship, assuming one or more of the teams reach that level.

While Telemundo is still a distant second to market leader Univision, Telemundo’s sports programming has been scoring big ratings points in recent months.

Telemundo’s primetime coverage of the Summer Olympics was viewed by 15.7 million, giving the NBC U Hispanic unit a 20% jump in viewership over last year.

Telemundo’s ratings success extended to its coverage of the Aug. 20 “Rumbo al Mundial Mexico vs. Honduras” match, which delivered a record-busting 2 million viewers in the 18-49 demo.

Pact falls outside of Televisa’s long-term programming license agreement with Univision, according to Televisa lawyer Marshall Grossman of Bingham, McCutchen.

Univision and Televisa are locked in a long-simmering royalties dispute. Court trial in Los Angeles has been moved several times, most recently to Jan. 6.

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