FCC Lawyer Says Comcast Pulled a Racket on Tennis Channel

FCC lawyer recommends $375K penalty against cable provider for favoring channels it owns

Last Updated: July 11, 2011 @ 6:02 PM

Comcast has just been served by the Federal Communications Commission over its treatment of the Tennis Channel.

The Los Angeles Times reports that an FCC lawyer is recommending that Comcast be fined $375,000 for discriminating against the Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel.

Also read: FCC to Investigate Tennis Channel Complaint Against Comcast

The Tennis Channel has argued that Comcast has refused to add the small sports channel to its more popular packages of channels, essentially depriving the company of revenue, while showing favoritism toward two comparably small networks, the Golf Channel and Versus, that are owned by Philadelphia-based cable leader Comcast.

Comcast has denied the allegations, saying it that it would be too costly and not beneficial to include the Tennis Channel to its less expensive but more popular channel packages. However, FCC attorney Gary Oshinsky wrote on Friday that he believed Comcast had broken rules against cable operators from favoring channels that they own.

"Comcast's discriminatory conduct unreasonably restrained the ability of Tennis Channel to compete fairly," Oshinsky wrote in his recommendation, going on to accuse accuse Comcast of "deliberate anti-competitive conduct."

Comcast and the Tennis Channel will next make their arguments next week before a judge in Washington, D.C., who will then submit his decision to the FCC so it may render the its decision.

Comcast and the FCC did not immediately return TheWrap's request for comment. Tennis Channel offered no comment on the story.