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Tennis Channel double-faults in bid to reopen Comcast discrimination case


Episode 14: A Quantum of Technology

Fintech Intelligence Digital Newsletter: April 2021


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Tennis Channel double-faults in bid to reopen Comcast discrimination case

Afteryears of fighting, TennisChannel (US) appears to have lost its legal battle with

AJuly 5 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals from the D.C. Circuit left inplace a previous ruling that the Tennis Channel had failed to prove it had beentreated unfairly and unlawfully by Comcast.

Thecase dates back to 2010, when Tennis Channel first filed a with the FCC alleging thatComcast had discriminated against the channel in favor of Comcast's own sportschannels. Tennis Channel claimed Comcast had isolated the network on a sportstier that reached only 2.6 million homes while distributing its own networks —what was then known as VERSUS and the Golf Channel (US) — more broadly.

TheFCC initially agreed with Tennis Channel and ruled in favor of the network, butthe decision was overturned in 2013 when the D.C. Circuit court found TennisChannel had failed to identify substantial evidence of unlawful discriminationbased on affiliation.

Onremand, the commission resolved the entirety of Tennis Channel's complaint inComcast's favor and denied Tennis Channel's petition for further proceedings.Tennis Channel was hoping the D.C. Circuit court would force the commission toonce again reopen the case, but in its July 5 ruling, the D.C. Circuit courtdenied the petition for review.

Thecourt explained that Tennis Channel failed to show the commission "actedarbitrarily and capriciously" when it denied Tennis Channel's petition forfurther proceedings, adding, that for the FCC to have done otherwise, "thecommission would have had to ignore the court's statements that it had reviewedthe administrative record and determined neither Tennis Channel nor thecommission in its initial order had pointed to substantial evidence to supportfinding … discrimination."

The courtsaid its 2013 decision left no room for the commission to find discriminationon the existing administrative record.

Inthe years since the complaint was filed, Comcast completed its of , adding to itsstable of networks, and Tennis Channel was acquired by , givingit more leverage in carriage negotiations.