Cablevision, Tennis May Volley Again At Distribution Net


Cablevision and Tennis Channel may be getting ready to volley at the distribution net again.
The New York DMA's predominant cable operator has sent out a postcard to its subscribers indicating that it has been working to extend its agreement with its the network, but "it is possible that Tennis Channel may no longer be available after Sept. 3."
Two years ago, the parties were engaged in a high-profile dispute that resulted in the operator's customers missing Tennis Channel's extensive coverage of the U.S. Open tennis championships.

A Tennis Channel spokesman said its original deal with NCTC expires on Sept. 3 and that it is currently talking to the cable co-op "for digital basic carriage or basic, not for sports tiers. Cablevision, like other NCTC affiliates, can elect to be part of the new deal."
Cablevision declined further comment.
Tennis, which for years had been negotiating for better positioning with Cablevision, became part of its sports tier, following the MSO becoming a member of the National Cable Television Cooperative and opting for the co-op's contract with the racquet sports service on Aug. 26, 2009.
The network said it had legal issues with Cablevision's unilaterally putting out a press release about its wont to launch the service and that it wasn't given a 30-day notification period to do. As such, it elected not to authorize its signal and none of its 240 hours of coverage from its inaugural presentation of the U.S. Open was available to Cablevision subscribers.

Tennis finally granted the signal authorization on Sept. 24, 10 days after Juan Martin del Potro defeated Roger Federer to end that year's tournament by capturing the men's singles title.
Since then, Tennis has been available as part of the MSO's iO Sports and Entertainment Pack on channel 399 and HD channel 795. That package, comprising 23 networks some in both standard- and high-definition formats, retails for $6.95 per month.

Tennis, meanwhile, is also awaiting resolution in its program-carriage complaint against Comcast at the Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau.

In July, the bureau has recommended to Chief Administrative Law Judge Richard L. Sippel that Tennis has made the case that Comcast had discriminated on the basis of affiliation. Comcast should be hit with the maximum fine allowed, which is $375,000, the bureau also said.