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)