For years Tennis Channel has challenged Comcast’s placement of the network in the cable giant’s upper sports tiers, alleging a violation of anti-discrimination rules as Comcast-affiliated sports networks were given broader carriage.
While the FCC initially sided with Tennis Channel, the D.C. Circuit overturned that decision. The appellate court ruled that the record had failed to show that affiliation played a role in the level of carriage that Comcast provided to Tennis Channel.
“To the extent the commission has discretion to reopen the proceeding, we conclude that the interest in bringing the proceeding to a close outweighs any interest in allowing Tennis Channel a second opportunity to prosecute its program carriage complaint,” the FCC said in its decision.
The FCC noted that the D.C. Circuit “neither invited nor directed” the commission to revisit the decision and look at the “evidentiary shortcomings” of its original decision.
“We respectfully disagree with the FCC’s decision today,” Tennis Channel said in a statement. “Two and a half years ago, the FCC found that Comcast had blatantly violated Section 616 of the Communications Act in its carriage of our network vis a vis its own competing Golf Channel and NBC Sports network. Just as Comcast explored all options following its disagreement with that order, we fully intend to do the same now.”