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Comcast Discussing Philly RSN Carriage With Dish, DirecTV: Sources

Comcast is in talks with DirecTV and Dish Network about carriage of its regional sports net in Philly, according to sources
familiar with those talks.

The negotiations do not come as a big surprise. Both satellite carriers formally asked the Federal Communications Commission for access to Comcast Philadelphia, which televises Philadelphia Phillies MLB games, Philadelphia 76ers NBA contests and Philadelphia Flyers NHL match-ups. in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's decision earlier this year that terrestrially delivered networks were not de facto excluded from complaints about access to distributor-owned programming (the so-called terrestrial exemption).Comcast holds a majority stake in Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the 76ers and Flyers.
Comcast has long argued that it would make the RSN available to DBS providers, as it already does to
cable and telco competitors -- FiOS and RCN -- when they make exclusive programming, like DirecTV-s Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market NFL games, available to Comcast. The FCC's rule change prompted the carriage talks.

 A source said talks are ongoing, but that Comcast is still not inclined to make the programming available. Moreover, even if it does, not without conditions of carriage that would make it more palatable to the company.

A Comcast spokesperson declined comment.

A DirecTV spokesman confirmed that the company had made a formal request for access, but said the company was "waiting to hear back." Asked if that meant the company was not in discussions, he declined comment.

Officials at Dish were not available at press time.

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.