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Tennis Channel Fires Back at Comcast

Tennis Channel has told the FCC that Comcast was misleading and inaccurate when it claimed that Verizon and Cablevision's decision not to carry the channel argues against Tennis' claim that Comcast limited carriage is out of step with the industry at large.

That came in a response to Comcast's comments related to the cable operators decision not to re-up with the National Cable Television Cooperative's group deal for the channel.

Tennis Channel says Comcast's submission omits "highly relevant" facts.

Tennis Channel offered what it suggested was some highly relevant info, submmarized by the channel:

" Comcast's submission... omits highly relevant facts about Tennis Channel's carriage arrangement with the National Cable Television Cooperative
- In fact, the NCTC re-negotiation that Comcast cites is strong evidence of how Comcast continues to carry Tennis Channel far below the market.
- Comcast minimizes the critical fact that... NCTC agreed to expand the network's carriage on participating systems - not reduce it.
- Comcast's argument ... that Verizon ... has "elected not to opt into" Tennis Channel's new NCTC contract is patently misleading.
- Verizon carried Tennis Channel broadly before the new contract was executed, and Tennis Channel and Verizon are now negotiating a multi-year agreement.
- Comcast itself recently experienced such an interruption when DirecTV dropped Versus for over six months."

-Cablevision and Tennis Channel had an involuntary relationship [that Tennis Channel wanted to get out of]."

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.

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau back in July weighed in, recommending in favor of Tennis Chanel's complaint.