The Tennis Channel will not be getting its day in court again, but the ball is still in play. Without explanation, the federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Wednesday denied the channel’s dual request for an en banc rehearing or a panel rehearing of a May 28 ruling on anti-competitive tactics by Comcast (read it here). Needless to say, the Tennis Channel isn’t happy. “The U.S. Circuit Court decision today effectively strips the FCC of the ability to perform the role Congress requires,” said the channel in a statement. “We are disappointed with this result and intend to pursue further review.” In the decision this spring, the court overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s July 2012 ruling that Comcast discriminated against the Tennis Channel in favor of the cable giant’s Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. Currently on a tier with around 3 million subscribers, the specialty channel has been trying since 2010 to be placed on Comcast’s basic service and reach over 21 million subscribers.
The 2012 requirement that Comcast remove the Tennis Channel from an extra-fee sports tier so it could compete more equally was the FCC’s first ever use of its anti-discrimination rules. In August of last year, Comcast won a delay of the order. Late May of this year, the Appeals Court said that the FCC offered no evidence to dispute the cable company’s contention that it placed the Tennis Channel where it did based on the financial judgment that few subscribers wanted to watch tennis.