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BeIN Sports suffers blow after losing third Comcast carriage complaint

BeIN Sports has suffered a fresh blow in the United States after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dismissed the network’s latest carriage complaint against Comcast/Xfinity.

It was the third time than the FCC ruled against the Qatar-based network in its ongoing dispute with Comcast.

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

BeIN has since looked to negotiate with the largest pay TV provider in the US, which has approximately 21 million subscribers. But having got nowhere with this, it has repeatedly turned to the FCC for an attempted resolution. But once again it failed to make its case.

Comcast said in a statement: “The FCC agreed our practices and decisions with respect to beIN’s programming were justified by clear data and marketplace facts. We hope that beIN will stop its attempts to use the regulatory process improperly to try to extract unjustified carriage terms from Comcast.”

BeIN said in a statement: “We are disappointed with the overall outcome of the [FCC] Media Bureau’s order. In deciding the case in this manner, the Media Bureau erroneously took it upon itself to decide the merits based on Comcast’s raw assertions without testing the evidence in an adversarial proceeding, as is typical in these cases.”

BeIN has the US rights to numerous soccer properties including LaLiga, Ligue 1 and the Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the WTA tennis tour. Its ongoing distribution problems in the US – which have led to a significant decline in its reach – has put the future of the network in some doubt.

BeIN Sports and the Spanish language beIN SPORTS en Español, meanwhile, this week also signed a new long-term national TV measurement agreement with Nielsen. As part of the deal, the networks will receive information on viewer lifestyles, attitudes and preferences, and in turn will be better able to monetize its audiences by offering advertisers increased efficacy.