Real Madrid chief: $1.3 bil rights bid on table

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MADRID -- Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon announced late Wednesday that the soccer team has been offered about €1 billion ($1.3 billion) for the rights to televise its matches for seven seasons, but declined to say which broadcaster had made the bid, which would set a new high in sports rights acquisition.

Nearly a decade after the famed soccer rights bidding wars between Spain's then-fledgling satellite platforms, a new round has erupted focused on Spanish soccer titan Real Madrid.

Local reports pointed to Madrid regional broadcaster Telemadrid as the bidder but said that film and TV powerhouse Sogecable, which holds the rights through 2008, also has presented an offer to the Primera Liga side.

No one was available for comment at Telemadrid or Sogecable.

The figure, announced by Calderon, tops the reported €600 million ($769 million) private TV channel La Sexta's parent company Mediapro paid rival soccer team FC Barcelona for five years, some €120 million ($154 million) per season.

Madrid regional vp Ignacio Gonzalez voiced his support of Telemadrid publicly.

"It's necessary to recuperate the traditional position of the public regional television with respect to soccer broadcasts," Gonzalez told journalists. "It doesn't make much sense that Madrid residents can't watch their teams on the regional TV station."
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