Comcast has begun informing its customers that it will move
Tennis Channel from a sports tier to a more viewed digital basic tiers "on
or about" Sept. 7, but with the caveat related to its court challenge of
The notice does point out that Comcast is challenging the
FCC program carriage decision that prompted the move to the more widely viewed
tiers where it carries its owned NBC Sports Net and Golf Channel, so Comcast
warns customers to check back periodically in case anything changes.
Comcast is including the notice of the move in its bills, as
well as a link to a longer explanation including answers to various questions,
according to a Comcast spokesperson. It is required to notify subs of possible
channel switches per franchise agreements on such moves.
Comcast has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia to stay enforcement until it has heard Comcast's challenge to the
program carriage decision, which it calls "unprecedented, unjustified and
Last week, Tennis Channel and the FCC filed their opposition
to that court stay -- the FCC had already denies Comcast's request that the
commission stay enforcement pending resolution of the court challenge. They
argued that Comcast had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the decision,
but that it had not met the high bar for a stay and its arguments were rooted
in a "distorted" view of the record.
Comcast has until Aug. 21 to answer the Tennis Channel/FCC
response to the stay request, according to Tennis Channel, after which the
court can rule on the stay.
On July 24, the FCC, in a 3-2 party line vote, upheld a
bureau and administrative law judge decision that Comcast had discriminated against
Tennis Channel by putting it on a sports tier while carrying similarly situated
owned networks NBC Sports Net and Golf Channel on digital basic tiers. Its
remedy was a fine and that Comcast had to provide equivalent treatment to the
The television industry's top news stories, analysis and blogs of the day.