US regulator dismisses beIN’s charges against Comcast

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Qatari beIN Media Group’s legal complaint against Comcast, the American cable company, has been dismissed by the US communications sector regulator FCC on Friday.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dismissed in part and denied in part the December 2018 carriage complaint by beIN Sports regarding unfair treatment by Comcast.

BeIN Sports is the exclusive broadcast partner in the US and Canada for the global football leagues LaLiga, Ligue 1, and Süper Lig, as well as premium competitions such as Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Copa del Rey, and CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

In its complaint, beIN had alleged ‘discriminatory’ practices by Comcast that denied sports fans their content.

The media group had filed its first carriage complaint against Comcast in March 2018. It alleged that the pay-TV distributor was prioritizing its own content and offered the sports network a “discriminatory and patently unfair renewal.”

This practice was against the US regulatory framework, beIN Sports argued.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that Comcast discriminated “on the basis of affiliation or non-affiliation” in the selection, terms, and conditions of carriage of two beIN Sports networks, beIN en Español and beIN.

In August 2018, the FCC dismissed the first complaint, seeking more information.

Yet after reviewing the second complaint, the FCC concluded that there was no a prima facie case of discrimination with regard to beIN en Español because the Spanish channel and VPV Universo were not “similarly situated.”

The FCC judged that there was by definition no violation of the Comcast-NBCU conditions. Accordingly, it dismissed beIN Sports’s second complaint with prejudice as to beIN en Español and denied the second complaint as to beIN.

In an official statement, beIN said that it was “disappointed with the overall outcome” of the Media Bureau’s order.

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