Denied access to University of Missouri men's NCAA basketball games,
overbuilder Everest Connections Corp. has filed a complaint at the Federal
Communications Commission seeking to void the exclusive hoops deal held by a
cable partnership controlled by Time Warner Cable.
Everest's cable wires pass 68,000 homes in the greater Kansas City area in
competition with the 300,000-subscriber Time Warner Cable venture called Kansas
City Cable Partners.
The other partner is Comcast Corp., a stake inherited in its acquisition of
Fox Sports Midwest distributes the Mizzou games to several TV stations and
cable operators in Missouri.
Everest carries the Fox network, but the network blacks out the Mizzou games
in the Kansas City market because Time Warner's programming affiliate, Metro
Sports, has exclusive rights and won't sell to Everest.
Under federal law, a satellite-delivered programming network that is at least
5 percent-owned by a cable operator is barred from signing exclusive deals.
Metro Sports distributes the Mizzou game terrestrially in Kansas
City. Nevertheless, Everest claimed that Time Warner's partnership has engaged
in federally prohibited "unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive
act or practices" by denying Everest access to the games.