The programmer blamed Comcast and said its new filing provides "more robust" evidence of the discrimination it alleged the first time around.
Back in March, beIN Sports filed its initial complaint, saying the cable operator had violated both the program carriage rules and a nondiscrimination condition in its NBCU purchase agreement, violations it said had occurred before the Jan. 20, 2018, expiration of that deal condition.
The FCC dismissed that complaint without prejudice, meaning beIN could refile it, and it now has.
“We have spent many months tirelessly trying to negotiate reasonable terms with Comcast, but Comcast has now, point-blank, refused to negotiate with us,” said beIN Sports deputy managing director for U.S. and Canada Antonio Briceño. “Thus, beIN Sports has refiled our carriage complaint against Comcast, providing additional evidence, consistent with FCC guidance, to substantiate Comcast’s discriminatory practices against beIN Sports and in favor of their NBC affiliates. Unfortunately, this is a continued strategy of leveraging large, vertically integrated cable carriers against smaller networks like ours to the detriment of devoted, loyal fans.”
“Our practices and decisions with respect to beIN’s programming are justified by clear data and marketplace facts," said Comcast in a statement. "We will once again demonstrate this in our response to the FCC and are confident beIN’s recycled complaint will fare no better a second time around since we are fully compliant with the FCC’s rules. This is just another attempt by beIN to use the regulatory process improperly to try to extract non-market carriage terms from Comcast."
The refiling comes after the Justice Department signaled it would bee keeping an eye on Comcast/NBCU after the sunset of the deal conditions.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.