Charlie Ergen is still after Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia.
On Monday, Ergen's EchoStar Communications Corp. urged the Federal
Communications Commission to require Comcast Corp. to sell SportsNet programming
to his company as a condition of approving Comcast's merger with AT&T
'EchoStar believes such a condition would narrowly address a quantifiable
anti-competitive phenomenon existing in Comcast's territory today and made worse
by the merger,' EchoStar said in a 10-page filing.
For years, Comcast has refused to sell SportsNet programming to EchoStar and
DirecTV Inc. The direct-broadcast satellite firms filed FCC complaints, but the
agency backed Comcast.
Because SportsNet is distributed via microwave rather than satellite, Comcast
may withhold the network from competitors, the FCC said. Comcast sells SportsNet
to terrestrial competitors, such as RCN Corp., in the Philadelphia market.
In its FCC comments, EchoStar said DBS penetration in Philadelphia was the
lowest in the top 20 TV markets -- 3.9 percent, compared with a weighted average
of 9.3 percent -- because DBS lacked Comcast's regional sports