NFL Network Thursday said it will file a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, accusing Comcast of discriminatory and anti-competitive treatment of the league-owned network.
In a statement, NFL Network confirmed that it has served Comcast with the required 10-day notice of its intent to file the FCC complaint in which it will argue that Comcast’s decision to place the network on a premium sports tier for its more than 24 million subscribers while keeping other sports channels that it owns on expanded basic tiers amounts to a violation of the 1992 Cable Act.
“Comcast has taken NFL Network away from millions of fans and placed it on a costly sports tier,” Steve Bornstein, NFL Network’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “We don’t believe that Comcast should charge consumers extra for our network while making sports channels it owns available on a less costly basis.”
“After months of trying to get Comcast to negotiate fair treatment, we have been forced to turn to the FCC,” he added.
In its forthcoming complaint, NFL Network will argue that Comcast’s alleged discrimination “causes serious anti-competitive and anti-consumer harms in the viewing, advertising and programming markets.”
It also claims Comcast is now retaliating against NFL Network because the league decided not to sell eight regular-season games to Comcast for the 2008 season, in part because “Comcast wanted an unacceptable condition in the deal that would have violated the NFL’s longstanding policy of free television coverage in the cities of the two competing teams.”