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Sinclair Nears Sports Streaming Deal With Deltatre

Eben Novy-Williams and Scott Soshnick

(Bloomberg) -- Video streaming service Deltatre is nearing a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. to be the digital video provider for the 21 regional sports networks that the broadcaster bought last year from Walt Disney Co., according to two people familiar with the talks.

Deltatre would provide the underlying technology for live sports broadcasts across the various networks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private. Financial details weren’t disclosed.

Sinclair and Bruin Sports Capital, which owns Deltatre, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

If completed, the deal could boost the value of Deltatre at a time when its owners are considering a sale. Bloomberg News reported in December that Bruin was exploring strategic options for the company, including the possibility of a sale valuing the company at $1 billion or more.

Deltatre’s current clients include the National Football League, Major League Baseball, European soccer governing body UEFA, and Discovery Inc. The company is based in Turin, Italy.

Last year, Sinclair agreed to pay $9.6 billion for the 21 regional sports networks, or RSNs, that were once part of the Fox sports empire. Disney had agreed to sell the networks as part of its already-completed acquisition of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s entertainment assets.

The networks, which cover cities like New Orleans, Detroit and Indianapolis, have local rights to more than 40 pro teams in the NHL, NBA and MLB, plus rights to smaller leagues and clubs. They had about 74 million subscribers and generated $3.8 billion in revenue in 2018.

The talks come as MLB teams prepare to take back the local streaming rights to their games, long controlled by the league as a whole. That change could eventually give team RSNs -- or other partners -- the right to build digital offerings that don’t require local fans to have a cable subscription.

Sinclair also recently purchased a 20% stake in the YES Network, the New York Yankees’ RSN, and will soon launch Marquee Sports Network, an RSN it co-owns with the Chicago Cubs. As of right now, those two networks aren’t involved in the Deltatre deal.

--With assistance from Gerry Smith.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net;Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards III

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