Time Warner again ordered to carry sports network

Posted June 9, 2008 3:04 p.m. EDT
Updated June 9, 2008 4:56 p.m. EDT

Time Warner Cable

— For the second time in six months, an arbitrator has ordered Time Warner Cable to carry a regional sports network that carries Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals baseball games.

Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has waged a high-profile battle with Time Warner for months to get the network onto the cable system's basic tier of service so the programming could be seen by more people.

In addition to Orioles and Nationals games, the network carries more than 200 football, basketball and lacrosse games involving North Carolina universities, officials have said.

Time Warner has maintained that it would be unfair to impose the cost of acquiring MASN programming on all customers because interest in the games is low. Instead, the company offered to carry MASN on a digital channel.

An arbitrator appointed by the Federal Communications Commission ruled in January that Time Warner was discriminating against  MASN in favor of its own sports networks.

The American Arbitration Association later removed the arbitrator from the case under a rule that arbitrators remain impartial and independent.

A second FCC-appointed arbitrator recently expanded on the discrimination findings and ordered the cable company to offer MASN to its subscribers.

“We’re appealing to the FCC,” Time Warner spokeswoman Melissa Buscher said. “Our position is we don’t have to carry their programming, pending review before the FCC.”