Comcast Sues DirectTV for False NFL Advertising

The country’s largest cable operator and largest satellite operator will continue their spat in court

Last Updated: August 4, 2011 @ 9:46 AM

Comcast, the country's largest cable TV company, is suing DirectTV, its largest satellite TV company, for false advertising related to the upcoming NFL season.

DirectTV has run ads promising its viewers that they will be able to watch football for free and Comcast says that is a lie.

However, this fight has deeper roots than a simple football advertisement. DirectTV objected to Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, lobbying the FCC to regulate Comcast's market power.

That did not please Comcast, which now owns NBCU.

Comcast has accused DirectTV not just of false advertising, but of disparaing cable TV, and thus Comcast. DirectTV ran ads saying that cable subscribers would only be able to watch onr game each Sunday and a more targeted ad saying that fans of the Philadelphia Eagles would not be able to watch Eagles' games.

In response to the suit, DirectTV has issued the following statement: "We believe Comcast's complaint is completely without merit and plan to defend ourselves vigorously."

DirecTV is no stranger to aggressive advertising campaigns that implicitly or explicitly target the competition. In 2010, for example, it called out Netflix by name, noting that unlike the popular subscription service, it offered new films as soon as they were released. Netflix, as DirecTV noted, was subject to a 28 day delay before it could offer many major new releases. 

This was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.