Sports programing could end up being the the major bone of contention between Comcast, NBC Universal and critics of the merged companies as regulators assess the joint venture’s impact on consumers, Reuters reports.
The news service quoted American Cable Association President Matthew Polka as saying smaller cable companies fear that Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, will raise fees for its sports channels.
The ACA does not oppose the deal, but is seeking to protect its members, which include cable companies operating in small and rural markets — and wants them pay the same carriage fees for Comcast-owned channels as Comcast would.
Comcast, which declined to comment for the Reuters story, owns the sports channel Versus and the Golf Channel. NBC has NBC Sports and a number of sports properties, from professional football to the Olympics.