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NBA’s Clippers linked to landmark rights deal

NBA basketball franchise the Los Angeles Clippers is closing in on a new local rights deal with cable television channel Prime Ticket that would allow it to retain streaming rights, according to the New York Post.

The US newspaper, citing sources close to the prospective deal, said closure of an agreement would make the Clippers the first franchise among North America’s four major sports leagues to exploit its own streaming rights.

Prime Ticket, operated by the Fox network, had held the local rights to the Clippers until the end of the 2015-16 NBA season in a deal that was worth $25m (€22.4m) per year.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive of software company Microsoft, has long been linked with an in-house approach to the team’s streaming rights.

The Post said Prime Ticket has offered Ballmer a “take-it-or-leave-it” proposal lasting two years. Under the terms, the Clippers would only be able to offer a streaming service to Prime Ticket customers. The NBA retains out-of-market streaming rights.