December 16, 2017 / 4:40 PM / a year ago

Turner wins broadcast rights to Chilean soccer

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - U.S. media company Turner Broadcasting has won exclusive rights to broadcast Chilean soccer matches, edging out competitor Fox Sports for the 15-year contract, the local soccer association said late on Friday.

Fox had been the favorite to win the contract, estimated at around $1.3 billion by local media, in the soccer-loving nation of Chile. But its ongoing negotiations with Walt Disney Co, which owns competing sports broadcaster ESPN, raised the specter of regulatory complications and led Chilean soccer officials to opt for Turner instead, the association said.

Disney struck a deal earlier this week to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4 billion in stock, but U.S. antitrust authorities will still need to review the terms.

“Without a doubt, the negotiations between Disney and Fox were also an element that influenced (the decision),” said Juan Tagle, a spokesman for the Chilean soccer commission that evaluated proposals for the broadcasting rights.

The South American country´s National Association of Professional Soccer is expected to give final approval to the deal next week, Tagle said.

Turner, a unit of Time Warner Inc, announced earlier this year that it would launch a standalone sports streaming service earlier in 2018.

Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn

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