Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

61 Federal Communications Law Journal 407 (2009)


Cable companies and sports leagues have embarked upon parallel courses of vertical integration by creating and acquiring interests in cable sports networks. Cable companies carry regional sports networks (RSNs) on basic cable tiers. Some league-owned networks have sought high prices for carriage on basic tiers, causing some cable companies to balk because of the price increase they would have to pass on to consumers. The 1992 Cable Act prohibits cable companies from discriminating in carriage terms between affiliated and nonaffiliated networks. Cable companies that own RSNs are, therefore, left vulnerable to discrimination complaints by league-owned networks. This Note argues that the leverage given to league-owned networks by the FCC's carriage regulations is contrary to the public interest and is due to an unreasonable interpretation of the 1992 Cable Act. Further, it suggests a variety of responses available to policymakers that have the potential to curtail increases in the price of cable due to the proliferation of cable sports networks.