Tennis Channel Gets FCC Hearing on Complaint Over Fairness Against Comcast

Tennis Channel was granted a hearing into its complaint that Comcast Corp. unfairly carries the network on a sports tier rather than as part of a more broadly viewed programming package.

A Federal Communications Commission administrative law judge is to hear the complaint against the largest U.S. cable company at a date to be determined later, the agency said today in a news release.

Comcast refused to relocate Tennis Channel last year from the extra-fee sports tier viewed by about 10 percent of the cable operator’s customers, according to the complaint Tennis Channel filed to the FCC on Jan. 5. Versus and Golf, which are Comcast-owned competitors to Tennis Channel, are available to subscribers for no added cost, according to the document.

“We look forward to refuting this groundless complaint in a full evidentiary hearing,” Sena Fitzmaurice, a Washington- based spokeswoman for Comcast, said in an e-mailed statement.

Tennis Channel is available to almost every home Philadelphia-based Comcast serves, Fitzmaurice said.

“We are fully honoring the terms of our agreement with Tennis Channel” by carrying it as part of a sports package, Fitzmaurice said.

Comcast has caused “significant harm” to Tennis Channel, Eric Abner, a spokesman representing the Los Angeles-based network, said in an e-mailed statement.

“When the matter is finally resolved, Comcast will have been found definitively to have illegally discriminated against Tennis Channel and in favor of its owned sports services,” Abner said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Todd Shields at Tshields3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net.

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