We keep track of Comcast, the major cable provider in Eastern Washington. We also follow DirecTV, a satellite program provider that's been engaged in a longstanding contract dispute with the company operating KAYU-TV, the Spokane Fox Network affiliate.
In fact, the dispute between KAYU's owners and DirecTV is now in its ninth month, with no resolution in sight. There is the potential for another late-year shutdown of signals from KAYU if the parties don't agree.
So it caught our eye when Comcast filed suit against DirecTV. Here are the particulars:
Comcast filed a complaint in an Illinois court, alleging DirecTV is misrepresenting that it can offer NFL Sunday Ticket programming for free.
Sunday Ticket provides subscribers with all out-of-market games on Sunday afternoons.
“As none of the ads disclose,” the lawsuit said, “the offer is not for free NFL Sunday Ticket service — the offer requires a two-year contract with hefty termination for early cancellation with the NFL Sunday Ticket service automatically renewing in the second year at full price.”
Comcast also charged that DirecTV is a "serial offender" in false advertising.
The only way Comcast can file a claim is if its own interests are negatively affected. By implication, the suit alleges DirecTV is directly or indirectly disparaging its own cable offerings.
In a reply mentioned on several websites, DirecTV said: “We think it’s deplorable that Comcast is trying to compete in the courtroom rather than in the marketplace. New customers who sign up for DirecTV can indeed get NFL Sunday Ticket at no extra charge for one year and there is no requirement to subscribe to NFL Sunday Ticket the following year."