Tennis Channel goes back to FCC in fight with Comcast

by: Kamakshi Tandon | March 11, 2014

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Tennis Channel is seeking a rematch with Comcast after the Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal of the long-running case over channel distribution.

Tennis Channel argues that Comcast is discriminating against the network by carrying it on a higher-priced sports tier instead of the basic package that includes Comcast-owned Golf Channel and Versus.

The FCC initially found in favor of Tennis Channel, but Comcast won a ruling from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court then declined to hear the case.

As a result, Tennis Channel is asking the FCC to review the case again based on the guidelines set out by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

The network said it was "confident that, as in every agency finding throughout the history of this case, the Commission will once again conclude that Tennis Channel is correct in its view that Comcast has illegally discriminated against it."

The appeals court decision said the FCC and Tennis Channel had not shown that Comcast would benefit from carrying Tennis Channel more widely, and that as a result there was a lack of evidence for unlawful discrimination.

However, in a filing with the FCC on Tuesday, Tennis Channel said that there was no previous requirement to show such benefit, but that it could do so and asked the FCC to review the issue on this basis.

A Comcast spokesperson said in a statement that "after years of litigation and scurrilous accusations by the Tennis Channel, the plain and simple fact is that the Court of Appeals unanimously concluded that carrying the Tennis Channel in the manner it demanded would have had immense costs and no benefits for Comcast and that, therefore, Comcast’s carriage decision was appropriate and non-discriminatory."

Tennis Channel's request comes as the FCC is also reviewing Comcast's propsed merger with Time Warner.

Is Indian Wells the fifth Grand Slam? Is Grigor Dimitrov the next Roger Federer? Plus, instruction and gear advice, and a look at the lighter side of the game, in this week's Tennis Tuesday.


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