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Comcast Volleys 'Drop' Shots at Tennis Channel

Comcast has modified its evidence in the Tennis Channel complaint to reflect that Verizon FiOS and Cablevision are no longer carrying the channel.

In a filing with the FCC Friday, the nation's top cable operator said that new information, combined with reports that other MVPDs had decided to drop the channel rather than move it off a separate sports tier, as Tennis Channel was requesting, undercut Tennis Channel's discrimination claim.

The Tennis Channel complaint stems from Comcast's decision to keep the Tennis Channel on a premium sports tier rather than a more broadly distributed programming tier. Tennis Channel argues that Comcast is favoring its own similarly situated networks Versus (NBC Sports Network in January) and Golf Channel by placing them on more widely viewed tiers.

Comcast was modifying its distribution levels for the channel on FiOS and Cablevision to score the point that they were both now O%. It also pointed to reports that "Suddenlink, Mediacom, WOW! (formerly Wide Open West), Knology and GCI, have also elected to drop Tennis Channel."

Comcast says those "independent carriage decisions" by other MVPDs "strongly refute Tennis Channel's discrimination claim against Comcast."

An FCC administrative law judge has heard the case but has not deadline for deciding it--the complaint predates the FCC's new timetable for resolving program carriage complaints.

A Tennis Channel spokesman had no comment at press time on Comcast's submission.