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Tennis Channel seeks return to court over Comcast dispute

US pay-television broadcaster the Tennis Channel has requested a rehearing of its court claim that pay-television provider Comcast unfairly placed the channel in a lower tier than Golf Channel and other channels in which it holds an interest, according to the Variety newspaper.

In May, a three-judge panel of the Washington D.C. Circuit overturned rulings from the Federal Communications Commission, the US media regulator, that Comcast should put Tennis Channel on an equal footing with Comcast-owned pay-television channels Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.

The regulator concluded that Comcast was in violation of program carriage provisions of the Cable Act, but the appellate judges said that the FCC “failed to identify adequate evidence of unlawful discrimination.” The Tennis Channel has taken issue with these findings.

The Tennis Channel’s filing said: “By requiring evidence that the defendant suffered an economic loss, the panel departed from this Court’s prior anti-discrimination decisions, ignored congressional intent, and erroneously rejected extensive findings made by the Federal Communications Commission.”

Variety said the long-running dispute is being watched closely in the cable television business, as few carriage disputes of its type have advanced so far in litigation.

Tennis Channel is part-owned by an investor group that includes Apollo Partners, Bain Capital, Battery Ventures, CCMP Capital Advisors and Columbia Capital. US tennis governing body the USTA, and other individual investors, also have stakes.