Comcast Sues The NFL For Breach Of Contract

Comcast has sued the NFL for breach of contract alleging that the league is breaking its contract with Comcast by encouraging the cable giant’s customers to switch to other providers.

This suit follows a cease and desist letter sent by Comcast warning the NFL to stop trying to coerce the company into placing the channel on a different package. A previous lawsuit decided that Comcast had the right to offer the channel on whatever package it wanted, including a premium “sports tier.”

From Broadcasting & Cable:

In the suit, which was filed Thursday, according to a copy supplied to B&C, 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 parties over whether Comcast’s right to tier the network had been triggered. The operator had initially carried the network on a more highly viewed tier per its contract.

Since the NFL lost the lawsuit, they’ve carried out a “Make the Switch” campaign against Comcast. The NFL’s spokesperson seems to think this is a victory:

“We haven’t seen the lawsuit so we can’t address specifics,” NFL spokesman Seth Palansky said, “but they seem nervous. An educated consumer is a good customer.”

Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts thinks the upcoming Patriots-Giants game is a matter of national interest and has sent a letter to the NFL, Comcast, and Time Warner offering to help them negotiate a truce that will allow more viewers to see Tom Brady’s enormous forehead go undefeated. The Patriots-Giants game is the final regular season game for the Pats, and it seems more than likely that Brady and the boys will join the ’72 Miami Dolphins as the second team to finish a season without a loss, and the first to go 16-0.

Sen. Kerry has a history of personally interceding when his sports viewing is in jeopardy; he pulled a similar stunt earlier this year, when he encouraged the FCC to get involved in DirecTV’s deal to become the exclusive provider of MLB’s Extra Innings package. So far the Senator has shown little interest in the heinous NFL Sunday Ticket Monopoly, so his sudden obsession with a single Patriots game is sort of… lame.

Also, to be perfectly frank, we find the current Dolphins’ potential “perfect season” much more interesting (and hilarious), and Tom Brady’s hair makes him look like a Lego.

Comcast Sues NFL Alleging Breach of Contract [B&C]
Kerry Wants to Huddle with NFL, Cable Operators [B&C]
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Comments

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  1. warf0x0r says:

    “Kerry want Pats on Cable!!!”

    “Kerry say, Fire Bad!”

  2. enm4r says:

    Tom Brady’s hair makes him look like a Lego.

    Ha! You’re right.

    I think both Comcast and the NFL should lose as much money as possible by dragging this out with as many trials and reversals as they deem necessary. From my eyes, they’re both losing at this point, and I consider that a good thing.

    And then after they’re done we can go through this whole exercise with the Big 10 network…

  3. num1skeptic says:

    lego man………lol!

  4. savvy999 says:

    You’d think the NFL could afford cushier towels for it’s MVPs. That scratchy gym rag looks harsh.

    Comcast suing them isn’t going to help matters either.

  5. TheName says:

    Yeah Comcast! Sue ‘em! We know that you’re the only one who should be allowed to bully other parties!

  6. Crymson_77 says:

    Considering the current drive by Jerry Jones to screw…well everybody…this karmic kickback shouldn’t be a big surprise…

  7. jeff303 says:

    @savvy999: He’s just going for the street cred; duh

  8. ElizabethD says:

    If Tom Brady is a Lego, I want a whole set, please.

  9. Trae says:

    I should start rebroadcasting games in Stickam or something…

    …but I probably won’t. Not because I’m ethically against it, but moreso since I’m lazy.

  10. Also, to be perfectly frank, we find the current Dolphins’ potential “perfect season” much more interesting (and hilarious), and Tom Brady’s hair makes him look like a Lego.

    Two knockout’s for the price of one sentence! LOL!

  11. nardo218 says:

    Wow, one annoying company versus another annoying company. Maybe they’ll kill each other and football will never preempt The Simpsons again.

  12. gman863 says:

    As much as I loathe Comcast, I hate the NFL even more for attempting to force their channel on all cable subscribers.

    A few months ago, consumer groups were pushing “a la carte” cable — allowing customers to pick out and pay for only the channels they were interested in and skip the rest. The NFL’s argument flies in the face of such wisdom: Don’t watch football? Tough. You’re gonna pay for it if you want it or not.

    If the NFL gets away with this, it will open the flood gates for major cable channel providers such as FOX, Time/Warner (CNN, TBS, TNT, HBO) and Viacom (MTV, Nick, VH1, LOGO) to force all-or-nothing channel packages on basic cable subscribers. If this happens, “basic cable” could end up with channels and monthly rates at or above the level of premium cable packages.

    The NFL brass appears to be suffering brain damage from long-term use of steroids. If I want to watch grown men wearing girdles and shoulder pads jumping on top of each other, I’ll skip the games and watch a cross-dressing themed episode of Jerry Springer.

  13. Bill says:

    Wow, there is a lot of hate for sports fans. Why should I have to pay extra because I want to watch football? The NFL isnt “getting away” with anything, they want there product offered to more customers, rather than comcast’s $120/month sports package. Besides sports dont have writers to go on strike, so when everyone is sitting around watching the same shows over and over, I will watch a new game.

  14. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    Comcast and The NFL: Never been more out of touch with their consumers since 2001

  15. kalmakazee says:

    @ GMAN863

    Not only do I totally agree with what you wrote but I couldn’t have written that better myself.

    Thanks for clarifying how I felt as well. :-)

  16. Mr. Gunn says:

    It wouldn’t make basic cable more expensive, so there’s no reason they won’t do it. In fact, it would being in more viewers and probably be a win win, but whatever.

    Just shows why bundling channels is lame.

  17. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @BILLMAN8111: “Why should I have to pay extra because I want to watch football?
    By your reasoning, why should I have to pay extra because I want to watch The Wire?
    Perhaps gubbamint should legislate the prices of everything…didn’t they try that somewhere else before?

  18. rls941 says:

    Actually, If the NFL network were to have remained where it was,up and your “basic” cable would have become more expensive.

    Ask the NFL network how much they charge your cable company per subscriber to carry the channel.

    Should everyone be forced to pay for NFL networks greed? If NFL wasn’t pulled to a sports tier, this my friends is exactly what would have happend!

    It makes perfect sense to have it on a sports tier, this way those who are actually watching the channel are paying the costs by the sports tier subscription. It’s only $5 in my area and since the NFL tier was moved they’ve been selling it 1/2 price through 2007.

    Go ahead, ask NFL network what they charge the cable companies per subscriber.