BeIN Sports files fresh complaint against Comcast in carriage dispute

BeIN Sports has filed an additional carriage complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against US media giant Comcast over an alleged unwillingness to negotiate in their ongoing dispute.

Comcast dropped the channel last August, when its carriage deal expired and it refused to pay the rights fee being asked by beIN.

BeIN has since looked to negotiate with the largest pay TV provider in the US, which has more than 22 million subscribers, but having got nowhere with this, has repeatedly turned to the FCC for an attempted resolution.

The Qatar-based broadcaster recently acquired the US rights to the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana.

Antonio Briceño, beIN’s deputy managing director for the United States and Canada, said: “We are extremely disappointed that after over a year spent attempting good-faith negotiations with Comcast, they have ignored customer demand, refused to negotiate and continued their practice of discriminating against beIN and other independent networks in favour of their own affiliated networks.

“While we remain hopeful and willing to come to an agreement, we are steadfast in our desire to reinstate beIN Sports at the same levels of distribution as Comcast’s own sports networks with which beIN Sports simply seeks to compete on a fair basis.”

A Comcast spokesperson said: “Our practices and decisions with respect to beIN’s programming are justified by clear data and marketplace facts. This is just another attempt by beIN to use the regulatory process improperly to try to extract non-market carriage terms from Comcast.”

Most recent

Social media giant Facebook’s challenges around its Copa Libertadores coverage in Latin America have convinced it that non-exclusive rights models form “one of the best ways” of breaking into markets where entrenched viewing habits restrict the potential for exclusive rights to grow engagement with the platform.

The Football Association rejected a higher bid for domestic FA Cup rights for the 2021-25 cycle from incumbent pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in favour of commercial broadcaster ITV, SportBusiness Media understands, in a move that took the competition exclusively free to air in the UK.

Spanish football’s LaLiga extended its rights deal in China with Wuhan DDMC Culture in May without going to market, where it would have faced a tough task maintaining its income, SportBusiness Media understands. The Chinese rights market has cooled since the previous deal was agreed, and DDMC is thought to be paying the league a strong rights fee.

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.