BeIN resumes carriage complaint against Comcast

Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports has opted to resume its US carriage battle with Comcast by refiling a complaint against the media company with the Federal Communications Commission.

BeIN said it has taken the decision after “many months of tireless work” trying to negotiate reasonable terms with Comcast, adding that the new filing provides more detail and “robust evidence” of discriminatory practices following an original filing in March.

As described in the original complaint, the refiling maintains that Comcast has ignored its obligations as a vertically integrated multichannel video programming distributor and discriminated against beIN as an independent network in favour of its own soccer content and other sports programming, violating program carriage rules.

In August, the FCC dismissed beIN’s initial complaint as beIN Sports was dropped from the cable television systems of Comcast’s Xfinity service and telco Verizon’s Fios platform. The FCC said that beIN had failed to provide evidence sufficient to support its claim that the programming it would provide under the renewal agreement was similarly situated to the video programming provided by Comcast’s affiliated vendors, NBCSN and Universo.

Comcast had argued that beIN would not guarantee what programming it would offer moving forward. Speaking today (Friday), Antonio Briceño, beIN Sports’ deputy managing director for the US and Canada, said: “We have spent many months tirelessly trying to negotiate reasonable terms with Comcast, but Comcast has now, point-blank, refused to negotiate with us.

“Thus, beIN Sports has refiled our carriage complaint against Comcast, providing additional evidence, consistent with FCC guidance, to substantiate Comcast’s discriminatory practices against beIN Sports and in favour of their NBC affiliates. Unfortunately, this is a continued strategy of leveraging large, vertically-integrated cable carriers against smaller networks like ours to the detriment of devoted, loyal fans.”

BeIN’s rights portfolio in the US includes club football leagues in the shape of Spain’s LaLiga, France’s Ligue 1 and Turkey’s Süper Lig.