Under a new multi-year deal between the cable giant and the sports tech provider, Deltatre will handle the full end-to-end technology behind a new app and website being built for Sinclair’s sports assets, according to two people familiar with the agreement. The products will encompass the 21 regional sports networks, formerly in the Fox family, that Sinclair purchased last year for $9.6 billion.
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripely confirmed in an interview that the company was working with Deltatre. He said the plan was to launched the app in “early 2021.”
“We are currently rebuilding the Fox Sports Go app, which is the main streaming app” for the networks, Ripley said in an interview. “It’ll be much more robust than the current app, which currently is a shell streaming app with no other features. We’ll have other content types integrated into one experience, and ultimately we’ll also have gamification, either for real money or not.”
Deltatre is based in Turin, Italy, with clients that include the National Football League, DAZN, MLB and Discovery Inc. Bruin Sports Capital, which owns Deltatre, was exploring a sale of the company earlier this year, but pulled it off the market in April because of uncertainty amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This is Deltatre’s largest partnership in the U.S., according to one of the people.
The app and website are part of Sinclair’s plan to monetize the largest family of regional sports networks, or RSNs, in the U.S. It acquired the networks from Disney, which was forced to sell them as part of its purchase of 21st Century Fox. Those 21 networks, which have rights to more than 40 NHL, NBA and MLB clubs, have about 74 million subscribers and generated $3.8 billion in revenue in 2018.
Sinclair later bought 20% of the the YES Network, the home of the New York Yankees, and recently launched a new RSN with the Chicago Cubs. Neither of those networks are part of the Deltatre deal right now, the person said.
Streaming live games through the app will require authentication through a cable provider at the start. That may change in the future – MLB owners recently voted to return local digital streaming rights to the teams themselves, opening the door for stand-alone digital services that cater to local fans.