Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable television company, won the right to move the NFL Network from one of its most popular programming packages to a less widely distributed tier of sports channels.
A New York Supreme Court judge has rejected the National Football League's claim that Comcast's move violated a contractual agreement, Comcast executive vice president David Cohen said yesterday in a statement.
The lawsuit is part of a larger fight between the closely held NFL and cable companies over telecasting the network. Cable companies contend that football fans who want the channel should pay extra for it. The NFL is pushing for wider distribution so it can increase ad and fee revenue from the operation.
In his May 4 ruling, which focused on agreements between Comcast and the NFL going back to 2004, Supreme Court Judge Bernard Fried in New York County said Comcast "is free to distribute the NFL Network on a sports tier." The channel features games and other football-related programming.
A call to NFL spokesman Seth Palansky for comment was not immediately returned.
Comcast plans to move the league's NFL Network to its sports tier in time for the 2007 football season, spokeswoman D'Arcy Rudnay said.