In a sharp defeat for Comcast Corp., the Federal Communications Commission sanctioned the cable giant over its treatment of the independent 24-hour Tennis Channel.
The decision requires Comcast to place the Tennis Channel on a general-audience channel tier on its cable system so 20 million to 23 million subscribers can view it without paying an extra charge.
The all-tennis channel is distributed to only about 2.7 million Comcast subscribers on the special-interest sports package.
Broader distribution will be a boon to the Tennis Channel and could result in an additional $38 million a year in revenue.
The FCC, in the order publicly released Tuesday evening, said Comcast has 45 days to comply. As part of the sanctions for discriminating against the Tennis Channel, the federal agency also fined the cable company $375,000.