Telemundo to Air NBA en Español

A number of National Basketball Association regular-season games will have a distinct Spanish-language flavor beginning next season due to the league's new three-year deal with Telemundo Communications Group Inc., announced Tuesday.

The three-year agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, calls for the Spanish-language service to air 15 regular-season NBA games live on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, as well as up to 10 Women's National Basketball Association games beginning in the 2003 season, representatives from both companies said.

Telemundo and the league will also create a weekly 30-minute youth-oriented basketball-highlight show.

NBA commissioner David Stern said the deal coincides with the league's aggressive plan to reach the burgeoning Hispanic market. Last June, the league provided Spanish-language coverage of the 2002 NBA Finals via television, radio and the Internet.

"The NBA has undertaken an integrated marketing program directed to the Hispanic market, [and] this new partnership will be one of the pillars of our efforts," he added.

The pact also fills in some of the weekend programming gaps left by the departure of Telemundo's sister network, NBC, which ended its 12-year run with the pro hoops league this June and will sever its WNBA ties next week.

Starting next season, ABC will air 15 regular-season games, five early-round playoff matchups and the NBA Finals. Over the course of its contracts with the NBA, NBC carried as many as 33 regular-season games and provided far more extensive playoff coverage.

The bulk of the postseason action will now be seen on Turner Network Television and ESPN, both of which also landed significant regular-season packages as part of six-year rights deals, valued at a combined $4.6 billion, that tip next season.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.