FCC Delays Tennis Channel v. Comcast Hearing


The Federal Communications Commission has delayed its hearing on Tennis Channel's complaint against Comcast by four weeks.

The hearing had been slated for the end of this month, but after Tennis Channel asked for more time, and Comcast did not oppose, the new dates are now April 15 for trial briefs and exhibits, April 20 for the beginning of document admission sessions, with the actual hearing beginning April 25.

The original hearing date had been March 29.

Tennis Channel argues that Comcast is favoring its own similarly situated networks Versus and Golf Channel by placing them on more widely viewed tiers. The complaint stems from Comcast's decision to keep Tennis on a premium sports tier rather than a more broadly distributed programming tier.

Comcast has long argued that it makes the channel available to nearly every home consistent with its affiliation agreement.

Tennis filed the complaint in February 2010. It has been trying to get on Comcast's basic tier for some time -- Comcast declined to reposition the channel when Tennis proposed it last year, saying it would be "cost-prohibitive." But Comcast's high-profile play for NBC Universal provided an opportunity for Tennis to leverage that attention on the deal to try to get wider carriage.