FCC rejects beIN Sports’ latest carriage complaint against Comcast

BeIN Sports’ long-term future in the United States was put in doubt after the Federal Communications Commission dismissed the network’s third carriage complaint against Comcast/Xfinity.

BeIN – which has been off Comcast/Xfinity since July 31, 2018 – had claimed that the America’s largest pay-television operator had shown an unwillingness to negotiate in their ongoing dispute. The FCC said the Qatar-based network failed to show extraordinary circumstances that would permit acceptance of such a complaint. The ruling was made with prejudice, which means beIN cannot re-file it.

BeIN has tried to negotiate with Comcast to secure carriage but – having met no success – has repeatedly turned to the FCC for an attempted resolution. A first complaint was rejected while a second one remains unresolved.

“While we are disappointed with the finding of the Commission concerning the dismissal of our refusal to deal claim, we are reviewing our procedural options,” beIN said in a statement. “Our separate complaint about Comcast’s discrimination against us remains pending.

“We look forward to completing briefing on this claim and to the FCC’s eventual decision on the merits. It remains our strong preference that Comcast listen to customers and engage in meaningful discussions concerning the restoration of beIN Sports programming to its cable platform.”

BeIN’s ongoing distribution problems in the US – which have led to a significant decline in its reach – has put the future of the network in doubt. LaLiga – one of the broadcaster’s key sport properties – is considering leaving beIN when its deal ends in 2020, a close source says, but LaLiga has denied this.