BeIN Sports USA files complaint against Comcast

BeIN Sports USA has filed a carriage complaint with the Federal Communications Commission against cable operator Comcast. 

Pay-television broadcaster beIN claims Comcast has favoured its own sports programming – Comcast owns sports networks NBC Sports and NBC Universo – “to the detriment of the beIN services”.

In a statement, the broadcaster claimed Comcast had made a “patently unfair renewal proposal”, and criticised the operator for preventing it showing HD programming, or from allowing subscribers to access beIN Sports Connect, its OTT platform.

“This is unacceptable and will not stand,” read the statement. “Our priority is, and has always been, to provide the most compelling programming, coverage and analysis to our loyal viewers. We hope Comcast will operate with the same spirit of customer-centric fairness and resolve this issue quickly.”

In a rapid response, a Comcast spokesperson said it “continues to be a good partner to the network”.

“In fact, we have maintained our market-based distribution of beIN Sports, consistent with how it is carried by most other cable and satellite providers. Unfortunately, rather than continue to engage in good-faith commercial negotiations for a renewal of its current agreement, which does not even expire for several months, beIN Sports has disappointingly filed this complaint, which is completely without merit. 

“Comcast has not discriminated against beIN Sports. Instead, beIN has demanded substantial increases in fees and carriage that make no business sense for our company and our customers.”

BeIN Sports began operations in the US market in 2012. While in many parts of the country, Comcast providers were among the first to carry beIN Sports in SD, recently the channel has become accessible in HD through AT&T’s DirecTV product, Time Warner cable systems and other providers.