AT&T Sued Over Regional Sports Network Pricing

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A tiny cable operator is taking on AT&T over the price of regional sports, raising issues of access to programming and anticompetitive conduct. The suit comes days after the Justice Department filed suit to block the Time Warner merger over just those concerns.

En-Touch, a member of the American Cable Association, which represents smaller and midsized cable/telecoms, has filed its own antitrust suit against AT&T and DirecTV in a Los Angeles District Court, alleging that its co-owned DirecTV pays above-market rates for AT&T SportsNet Southwest in Houston. En-Touch tells the court that regional sports is must-have programming, as the FCC has pointed out, particularly for new entrants trying to compete with major league players.  As a result, En-Touch says it has to carry the RSN, but at an inflated price due to the pricing structure that caused the net demise under previous ownership--Comcast. "The continuation by Defendants of the artificially high pricing structure allows Defendants to plead innocence when accused of anti-competitive pricing, proclaiming that AT&T SportsNet is expensive for all MVPDs, including Defendant MVPDs," it argues.

AT&T Sued Over RSN Pricing