Comcast hit by FCC carriage complaint from beIN Sports

UEFA soccer

International soccer programmer beIN Sports has filed a program carriage complaint against Comcast, alleging the cable giant gives unfair advantage to its own sports channels.

Stop us if you’ve heard this complaint before (this one was first reported on by Multichannel News): beIN alleges that Comcast puts NBC Sports and NBC Universo in less expensive, more widely distributed tiers. 

“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. 

A globally situated spinoff programming asset of the Al Jazeera Media Network, beIN notes that the FCC has already determined that less likeminded sports channels compete for viewership and tier positioning. 

"The Commission has already found that a sports network focused on football (the NFL Network) is similarly situated to Comcast-affiliated networks focused on golf, fishing and hunting programming," beIN said. "Here, the similarity among the programming of the four networks in question is much more pronounced.”

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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. 

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Comcast hasn’t yet responded to FierceCable’s inquiry for comment. The beIN complaint comes amid a push to stop the sunsetting later this year of conditions tied to the 2011 federal approval for Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal.