Tennis Channel Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold FCC’s Program Carriage Ruling

The independent pay TV service wants the justices to reverse decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals in DC that overturned an FCC ruling last year. Regulators said that Comcast had to take Tennis Channel off of an extra-fee sports tier so it could compete more equally with the cable giant’s Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. The FCC said that Comcast had used its market power to discriminate against Tennis Channel. But the Appeals Court said that the FCC offered no evidence to refute Comcast’s position that it made a simple financial judgment that few subscribers wanted to watch tennis. The Appeals Court ruling “strayed from longstanding federal discrimination law to invent an arbitrary and unfair standard for deciding cable carriage complaints,” the Tennis Channel says today. “The ruling ignores Congress’ intent to ensure a diverse, competitive media marketplace and eviscerates the FCC’s  congressionally assigned responsibility to regulate program network competition in the public interest.” The Appeals Court overturned the FCC in May, and in September denied Tennis Channel’s dual request for an en banc rehearing or a panel rehearing. Comcast says that the court “has spoken emphatically and unanimously that Comcast did not discriminate against the Tennis Channel.” The company adds that it’s “confident that this ruling will continue to be upheld.”

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