Tennis Channel to 'Live'-en Coverage
Now that the FCC has upheld the network's programming carriage victory against Comcast, it can increase its live coverage
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMLeague-Owned Networks Ready to Run Up the Score
When the FCC last month upheld Tennis Channel's program-carriage victory against Comcast, it all but assured the single-sport network would get the increased distribution (and rights fees) it felt it deserved.
Ken Solomon, Tennis Channel chairman and CEO, says now his network can do "things that we would have been doing" had the network not been "artificially discriminated" against by Comcast. "We'll be doing a lot more of what people love."
That means upping the amount of live coverage. "With the resources to compete fairly in a level playing field, we can take that 430,000 hours of live and near-live coverage and double it almost overnight, without spending a dollar on additional rights," says Solomon.
The network is beginning its U.S. Open Series coverage this month on Mondays, ahead of its previous Thursday or Friday start. "We just didn't have the money to have the trucks there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," Solomon says, adding that Tennis Channel often pulls in some of its best ratings earlier in tournaments.
Comcast has until Sept. 7 to give Tennis Channel similar tier placement to its co-owned networks Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. Comcast on Aug. 8 filed a petition in federal court for a stay of the FCC decision.
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