This week the Big3 Network, a three-on-three professional basketball league, filed a complaint with the FCC and DOJ about the sale of the Fox Sports Networks. The Big3 Network is one of the groups bidding on the Fox Regional Sports networks. According to the Big3 Network, Charter’s Spectrum TV is threating to “preemptively drop” Fox Regional Sports Networks resulting in issues for groups trying to bid on them.
“Charter’s conduct raises serious questions regarding the integrity of the divestiture sale and whether Liberty may be using its controlling position over Charter to tilt the bidding process in its favor,” the Big3 Network said in its letter to the DOJ. “It has been suggested to Big3’s ownership that Charter has disseminated its threat to drop the RSNs to other members of the industry, thereby suppressing auction prices, chilling bidding, and ultimately hurting Disney’s ability to secure the best price for the RSNs.”
The Big3 hopes to use Fox Regional Sports Networks as the first step to a new national sports network with Charter controlling about 25% of the markets that Fox Regional Sports networks are in. The Big3 wants Charter to offer “guidance and visibility into Charter’s business plans and assurances that Charter would not completely drop the RSNs, as it has indicated. Otherwise, Charter’s conduct risks effectively excluding Big3 from the bidding process and tainting the auction.”
According to a statement from Charter, it “currently has an agreement to carry these networks and welcomes the opportunity to discuss a future carriage agreement for these networks with whomever ultimately owns them including Big3. Regardless of who owns the programming, we approach all negotiations with the same singular objective of reaching carriage agreements that best meet the needs of our customers.”
Yet the Big3 is pushing back saying, “The Big3 is not part of the old boys club and that doesn’t sit well with a company like Charter, which has been called out many times for unfair treatment of minority organizations and for consistent disregard of its own customers,” Ice Cube said in the release. “In response to our filing, Charter says they are willing to talk to ‘whomever.’ Given their consistent animosity toward diverse ownership groups with inclusive messages like ours, we say we don’t believe them. Anyone who looks at the facts won’t either. They have done everything they can to keep us from owning these RSN’s and that’s why we have asked the FCC and the DOJ to investigate.”
We will have to wait and see what the DOJ and FCC do with this complaint. Per the deal Disney has with the DOJ to buy most of Fox they have just 90 days from the closing of the Fox deal to sell off the Fox Regional Sports Networks.
Source: Awful Announcing
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