August 19, 2011 3:44pm PT by Georg Szalai
Comcast Withdraws Lawsuit Over DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket Ads
NEW YORK - Cable giant Comcast said Friday that it has withdrawn a lawsuit that it had filed earlier this month against satellite TV provider DirecTV claiming that a national advertising campaign misled consumers into thinking they would get "free" football with their satellite service.
"DirecTV has discontinued or modified its false and misleading advertising to consumers regarding its NFL Sunday Ticket package as a result of our legal action," Comcast said in a blog post on Friday. "As such, we have elected to withdraw our complaint on this matter."
"Comcast can spin it it any way they want, but they lost the [temporary restraining order] last week and they withdrew their case yesterday because they knew they were going to lose," DirecTV said in a response. "Our NFL Sunday Ticket campaign will continue to air as planned. We won, plain and simple."
Comcast had said in its complaint that DirecTV made fans believe the football offer was free, while actually imposing a two-year contract with "hefty" cancellation fees and automatic renewal in the second year at the full price.
DirecTV said the allegation "borders on absurd." It also said its ads use the phrase "no extra charge," not "free."
A federal judge in Illinois previously declined a Comcast request for a temporary restraining order against DirecTV to halt the ad campaign.