By RICHARD SANDOMIR Published: December 20, 2011
From the “New York Times”
For years, the Tennis Channel has hungered to be watched as broadly nationwide as other sports channels.
And on Tuesday, a Federal Communications Commissionadministrative law judge agreed, ordering Comcast to carry the Tennis Channel exactly as it does Versus and the Golf Channel. The ruling is particularly important because Comcast is the largest owner of cable systems in the United States.
“They were ordered to proceed as soon as is practicable,” said Ken Solomon, the chief executive of the Tennis Channel. “So we’re preparing to add between 20 million and 23 million households.”
That would boost the Tennis Channel’s number of subscribers to more than 50 million; currently, Comcast customers have to pay an extra few dollars to get the tennis network on a digital sports tier.
Sena Fitzmaurice, a vice president of Comcast, said in a statement that the company disagreed with the decision. “Comcast has the contractual right to distribute Tennis Channel as it does currently,” she said. It also believes “that the exercise of that right to minimize costs to consumers is not discrimination.”
Comcast will appeal the decision to the full F.C.C. and, if necessary, to the United States Court of Appeals.
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