Comcast: beIN Sports jumped gun on FCC filing

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Comcast has responded to an FCC network carriage complaint filed this week by beIN Sports, claiming the programmer is not bargaining in good faith.

“Comcast was one of the first distributors to launch both beIN Sports channels in 2012 and continues to be a good partner to the network,” Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said in a statement emailed to FierceCable. 

“In fact, we have maintained our market-based distribution of beIN Sports, consistent with how it is carried by most other cable and satellite providers,” Comcast added. “Unfortunately, rather than continue to engage in good-faith commercial negotiations for a renewal of its current agreement, which does not even expire for several months, beIN Sports has disappointingly filed this complaint, which is completely without merit.  Comcast has not discriminated against beIN Sports. Instead, beIN has demanded substantial increases in fees and carriage that make no business sense for our company and our customers.”

BeIn Sports, owned and operated by beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Al Jazeera Media Networks, claims Comcast gives unfair advantage to its own sports channels, putting NBC Sports and NBC Universo in better programming tiers. 

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“The Comcast offer discriminates against the programming of beIN and in favor of NBC Sports’ and NBC Universo’s similarly situated sports programming,” the filing said. 

Further, beIN said other pay TV operators give its networks far better tier positioning. 

“Nor is it true that other distributors carrying beIN do so almost universally on upper level tiers: as many as seven distributors—Charter, CenturyLink, Frontier, FuboTV, Liberty Puerto Rico, Prism, and Verizon—give beIN access to tiers with greater penetration than the packages to which Comcast has consigned beIN. Of them, Verizon gives beIN penetration to the vast majority of its subscriber base, with the sole exception of the FiOS skinny bundle,” the complaint noted.