The shootout at the Federal Communications Commission between Comcast and beIN over European soccer matches was the second time that the FCC decided in Comcast’s favor. Comcast has not distributed beIN Sports channels for about a year.
A former Al Jazeera Media Network, beIN has claimed to the FCC that Comcast fails to distribute its soccer-focused cable channels to American audiences so that it can give its own sports channels a boost in TV ratings and revenue, which would violate federal law.
In the United States, beIN owns the U.S. rights to Spain’s La Liga, France’s Ligue 1 and the Turkish SuperLig. beIN also owns the rights to broadcast certain overseas soccer tournaments, in addition to tennis and motor sports.
BeIN Sports said on Tuesday that it was disappointed and that the FCC’s Media Bureau “erroneously took it upon itself to decide the merits based on Comcast’s raw assertions without testing the evidence in an adversarial proceeding, as is typical in these cases.” The company was reviewing its options "take appropriate steps to deliver our programming to the widest possible audience.”
Comcast has said that its channels and beIN are not direct competitors and it shouldn’t have to carry them at the prices demanded by beIN.
The FCC agreed.
Comcast-owned NBCSN owns the U.S. rights to English Premier League soccer and its Spanish-language Telemundo network is broadcasting the women’s world cup.