Comcast Sues NFL Over Campaign
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/16/2007 7:00:00 PM
Comcast has filed a breach of contract suit against the NFL in New York State Supreme Court.
Comcast says the NFL has been encouraging its customers to drop the service, essentially “destroying” Comcast's right to put the NFL Channel on the sports tier, which the NFL agreed to in its contract with Comcast. However, there is some dispute over what that contract allows.
That suit followed a letter Comcast sent to the NFL Nov. 19 asking it to “cease and desist” from any public communications encouraging Comcast subs to cancel their subscriptions, but still saying it could sue for damages it had already incurred.
In the suit, which was filed last week, Comcast said the NFL had breached its agreements “through what has been described as a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to drive Comcast's customers to its competitors, and thereby to wrongfully coerce Comcast into abandoning its bargained-for tiering right.”
In May 2007, the New York State Supreme Court upheld Comcast's right to carry the channel on a sports tier after a dispute between the two over whether Comcast's right to tier the network had been triggered. It had initially carried it on a more highly viewed tier per its contract.
“We haven't seen the lawsuit so we can't address specifics,” said NFL spokesman Seth Palansky, “but they seem nervous. An educated consumer is a good customer.”
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