Spain's state TV will start airing live bullfights again after the new conservative government lifted a six-year ban on the tradition that has been hard hit by declining popularity and the economic crisis.

The first fight will be broadcast on the widely watched RTVE Wednesday evening from the northern city of Valladolid.

It's a big victory for pro-bullfighting forces who saw fights prohibited this year in the northeastern region of Catalonia. And it's a defeat for animal rights activists who denounce bullfighting as barbaric.

The live transmissions were halted in 2006 by Spain's previous Socialist administration, which said they were costly and coincided with youth TV viewing hours.

The Socialists lost power last year and new Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is a bullfighting fan.