SBD/April 25, 2013/Media

Potential Tennis Channel Sale Could Depend On FCC Ruling In Comcast Dispute

Sources have "downplayed" the reported interest of Al Jazeera in purchasing the Tennis Channel, but if there is some truth to it the company "might want to keep its wallet closed" until the Tennis Channel-Comcast legal battle plays out, according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. Tennis Channel is "waiting for word from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit about the fate of an order" from the FCC that "could be crucial to the channel's future." The FCC last year said that Comcast had discriminated against Tennis Channel "by not making it available to the same number of its subscribers who receive Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network." Comcast "appealed the FCC's order and a ruling is expected in the coming months." Tennis Channel, which is "currently in 35 million homes," could get a "boost of 20 million more homes by getting carriage on all of Comcast's systems." That would "greatly increase its value." But if the court "sides with Comcast, then Tennis Channel's efforts to expand will have been severely hampered." Whether that will "be enough to turn off the deep-pocketed" Al Jazeera "remains to be seen" (LATIMES.com, 4/23).

LIP SERVICE: SI.com's Bruce Jenkins wrote the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters is "one of the most prestigious events on the men's tour," and Sunday's final, which aired on ESPN3, "was nothing short of a dream" with Rafael Nadal playing Novak Djokovic. But during ESPN's "entire prime-time 'SportsCenter' -- 90 minutes' worth," there was "nothing" about the event. Jenkins: "Nary a clip, nor even the score. As the anchors signed off, with time only for a few short comments in passing, one of them mentioned that Djokovic had ended Nadal's eight-year command of the tournament" (SI.com, 4/23).
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