NFL Net files complaint against Comcast

Says the cable company favored its own sports channels

NEW YORK -- NFL Network late Tuesday took aim at Comcast with the FCC, charging that Comcast discriminated against the league's channel.

The complaint said that Comcast gives its own sports channels -- such as Versus and Golf Channel -- preferred position while the NFL Network is stuck on a sports tier. That's even though the NFL Network has higher ratings than either of them, the NFL said.

The NFL Network claims Comcast's decision stems from the league's late-season package going to the NFL Network instead of Versus. It said Comcast was in violation of the Cable Act of 1992.

It's been a tough year for the NFL Network, which has dipped from an estimated 42 million subscribers to an estimate of 33 million after the decision by Comcast and another one by Echostar, which owns the Dish Network satellite service, to move it to a sports tier. It told the FCC that its lost subscribers and also lost a Pac-10/Big 12 football package to Versus.

Comcast late Tuesday was unimpressed by the filing.

"Comcast makes the NFL Network available to all of our customers on a tier of service that the NFL agreed to by contract," Comcast said in a statement. "The NFL has immense power in the marketplace, yet it keeps running to the federal and state governments to try to force changes in the deal it freely accepted in negotiations with Comcast."
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