Italy's Serie B soccer closes rights deal

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ROME -- The long-overdue deal between Italy's second-highest soccer league and the league's broadcasters was finally concluded Thursday, with an agreement that delivers broadcast rights to traditional broadcasters RAI and La 7, satellite broadcaster and News Corp. subsidiary Sky-Italia and several regional broadcasters.

Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset had not applied to broadcast games from Serie B, which is made up of the 22 best professional soccer teams not among the 20 in Serie A. Every year, the top three teams from Serie B are promoted to Serie A and the bottom three from Serie A are demoted.

Last year, Serie B broadcasts took on an added significance as a match-fixing scandal resulted in several Serie A teams -- including 27-time champion Juventus -- being demoted.

The deal for Serie B broadcast rights was delayed for several months as different broadcasters tried to gain more access to the most popular teams in the league.

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