Comcast Wins in Program Carriage Dispute with beIN Sports at FCC

April 9, 2019

The FCC Media Bureau granted Comcast’s motion to strike a program carriage complaint filed against it in February by beIN.

Willkie represented Comcast in a dispute with beIN Sports, which airs soccer matches and exclusive coverage of the La Liga and Ligue 1 leagues, over the carriage of the beIN Sports networks at the FCC. This marks the third complaint beIN has filed against Comcast. The complaint, filed in February 2019, alleges an unreasonable “refusal to deal” by Comcast. Fully endorsing Comcast’s procedural arguments, the FCC dismissed the complaint due to a failure to seek prior leave from the agency and to show extraordinary circumstances permitting acceptance of such a complaint.

The first complaint, filed by beIN in March 2018, claimed that Comcast discriminated on the basis of affiliation against beIN Sports’ networks to favor its allegedly similarly situated networks, NBC Sports Network and Universo. It was dismissed with the FCC concluding the programmer failed to provide evidence sufficient enough to prove that beIN and beIN en Español were similarly situated to NBCSN and Universo. A second complaint filed in December, alleging the same violations, is still pending. Read Willkie’s August 17, 2018 announcement

The Willkie team included partners Michael Hurwitz and David Murray, and associates Melanie Medina and Samuel Eckland.