December 16, 2017 / 4:38 PM / 3 months ago

Turner wins broadcast rights to Chilean soccer

SANTIAGO, Dec 16 (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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