Tennis Channel loses appeal to re-open long-running program discrimination complaint against Comcast

The D.C. Court of Appeals will not reopen the Tennis Channel's long-running program discrimination suit against Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA). 

"Tennis Channel did not identify the critical evidence it intended to present if the [FCC] reopened the record," the appeals court decision said. "Tennis Channel fails to show the Commission clearly abused its discretion in declining to extend the proceedings."

Now owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, Tennis Channel first filed its complaint with the FCC in 2009, alleging that Comcast relegated it to an add-on tier, while favoring its own niche sports networks, putting outlets such as the Golf Channel in its basic tier. 

The FCC sided with Tennis Channel in 2012, but the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded that decision, saying Tennis Channel didn't supply enough evidence to show that Comcast had discriminated against it. 

In 2014, Tennis Channel asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but the High Court declined. The channel was also rebuffed when it asked the FCC to look again at the matter, leading it back to the D.C. Court of Appeals. 

"Regarding the request to reopen the record to allow submission of additional evidence, although the [FCC's] explanation for denying Tennis Channel's request was brief, it was sufficient," the court said. 

For its part, Comcast said it's "pleased the court agreed that the FCC was right in ending this case once and for all."

For more:
- read the D.C. Court of Appeals decision
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related articles:
Tennis Channel teams with NeuLion to expand streaming service to new devices, markets
Tennis Channel's Ware pitches 'hybrid' a la carte model
Tennis Channel vs. Comcast - Worst Programming Disputes of All Time


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