Tennis Channel Volleys NCTA Opposition


The volleying continued over the FCC's decision to uphold an Administrative Law Judge's ruling in a favor of Tennis Channel over Comcast in a carriage complaint.
"It should surprise no one that the NCTA has come out against the FCC's decision this week to uphold the ALJ ruling regarding Tennis Channel and Comcast," Tennis Channel said in a statement following the association's blog posting taking aim at the decision affecting its largest member.

 "It needs to be noted that 1) Comcast is the largest dues payer in the NCTA; 2) the most recent ex-president and CEO of the NCTA, Kyle McSlarrow, is now head of Comcast's lobbying and government affairs office in Washington, D.C.; 3) Brian Roberts, Comcast Corporation chairman and CEO, has been a multiterm chairman of the NCTA board of directors and remains a board member at this time; and 4) Neil Smit, president and CEO, Comcast Cable/executive vice president, Comcast Corporation, is currently secretary of the NCTA executive committee.

Additionally, independent programmers, while members of the NCTA, generally have no representation within the organization."

 In a blog posting last week, McSlarrow called the decision a "dramatic regulatory overreach that cannot be justified.

Last week In a 3-2 party line vote, the FCC voted to uphold an agency judge's ruling that Comcast discriminated against Tennis Channel, but vacated his equitable channel placement remedy.

That means Comcast must provide Tennis with the same level of distribution it gives similarly situated co-owned networks Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network ( previously known as Versus). However, the nation's top distributor does not have to afford Tennis similar/adjacent channel positioning.