Comcast Seeks FCC Stay of Tennis Channel Decision


Comcast has asked the FCC to stay enforcement of its July 24 vote upholding Tennis Channel's program carriage complaint.

Comcast said in the filing Monday that the decision imposed an "unprecedented burden" on the company, allowing Tennis Channel to rewrite its contract with Comcast "under the guise of avoiding discrimination."

The commission voted on a 3-2 party line split to uphold the administrative law judge decision, and Comcast cites the two Republican commissioners' joint dissent in arguing that the FCC misapplied the law.

In addition, Comcast claims that the FCC order is unconstitutional and that Tennis Channel's initial complaint was not filed in time.

Comcast says it is likely to win a court appeal of the decision on those merits and that not to get a stay would cause it, and the public interest, irreparable harm. Those are the key thresholds for granting stays.

Comcast has 45 days from that July 24 decision to give Tennis Channel the broader carriage it affords its co-owned Golf and NBC Sports Net channels.

Comcast asks the FCC to rule on its petition by Aug. 7 so that, if the FCC says no, it can seek a judicial stay.

Broadcasters recently took the same emergency stay route in trying to prevent the FCC from enforcing its Aug. 2 date for posting political and other public files online, but the FCC and the court both denied those appeals for emergency relief.