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TCR Sports Broad. v. FCC & USA, No. 11-1151 (4th Cir.)

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Released: May 14, 2012
Appeal: 11-1151 Doc: 103 Filed: 05/14/2012 Pg: 1 of 16

PUBLISHED

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT


TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING

HOLDING, L.L.P., d/b/a Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network,
Petitioner,
v.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
COMMISSION; UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA,
Respondents,
No. 11-1151
TIME WARNER CABLE
INCORPORATED,
Intervenor.
OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF
BASEBALL; MEDIA ACCESS PROJECT;
ROBERT LITAN; ROBERT HAHN,
Amici Supporting Petitioner.
On Petition for Review of an Order
of the Federal Communications Commission.
(FCC 10-202)
Argued: January 26, 2012
Decided: May 14, 2012
Before TRAXLER, Chief Judge, and SHEDD and WYNN,
Circuit Judges.

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
Affirmed by published opinion. Judge Wynn wrote the opin-
ion, in which Chief Judge Traxler and Judge Shedd con-
curred.

COUNSEL

ARGUED:

David C. Frederick, KELLOGG, HUBER, HAN-
SEN, TODD, EVANS & FIGEL, PLLC, Washington, D.C.,
for Petitioner. Peter Karanjia, FEDERAL COMMUNICA-
TIONS COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.
Jay Cohen, PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GAR-
RISON LLC, New York, New York, for Intervenor.

ON
BRIEF:

Scott H. Angstreich, Jeffrey M. Harris, KELLOGG,
HUBER, HANSEN, TODD, EVANS & FIGEL, PLLC,
Washington, D.C., for Petitioner. Christine A. Varney, Assis-
tant Attorney General, Catherine G. O’Sullivan, Nancy C.
Garrison, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, D.C.; Richard K. Welch, Acting Associate Gen-
eral Counsel, James M. Carr, FEDERAL COMMUNICA-
TIONS COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Respondents.
Floyd Abrams, Landis C. Best, CAHILL GORDON & REIN-
DEL LLP, New York, New York; Henk Brands, Andrew W.
Croner, PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRI-
SON LLC, Washington, D.C., for Intervenor. Thomas J.
Ostertag, OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF BASE-
BALL, New York, New York; Lisa S. Blatt, Robert A. Gar-
rett, R. Stanton Jones, ARNOLD & PORTER LLP,
Washington, D.C., for the Office of the Commissioner of
Baseball, Amicus Supporting Petitioner. Chrystiane B. Per-
eira, Andrew Jay Schwartzman, MEDIA ACCESS PROJ-
ECT, Washington, D.C., for Media Access Project, Amicus
Supporting Petitioner. Arnold M. Weiner, LAW OFFICES
OF ARNOLD M. WEINER, Baltimore, Maryland, for Robert
Litan and Robert Hahn, Amici Supporting Petitioner.

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
3

OPINION

WYNN, Circuit Judge:
TCR Sports Broadcasting Holding, L.L.P., d/b/a Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network appeals an order of the Federal Com-
munications Commission ("FCC"). Based on a review of its
Media Bureau decision and the records below, the FCC found
that Time Warner Cable Inc. ("Time Warner") provided legit-
imate and non-discriminatory reasons for declining to carry
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network programming on an analog tier
in its North Carolina cable system.
On appeal, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network argues that the
FCC’s Order should be vacated and remanded because Time
Warner engaged in unlawful discrimination, thereby violating
Section 536 of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, as
amended, and the FCC’s program carriage rules. Because the
FCC acted neither arbitrarily nor capriciously in rendering its
Order, we conclude that the FCC acted within its discretion,
and we deny the petition for review and affirm the FCC’s
Order.
I.
A.
Congress enacted the Cable Television Consumer Protec-
tion and Competition Act of 1992 ("the 1992 Cable Act"),
Pub. L. No. 102–385, 106 Stat. 1460, which amended the
Telecommunications Act of 1934, to address concerns about
the possibly anticompetitive effects of the vertical integration
of cable companies that own both video distribution facilities
and programming content. See 47 U.S.C. § 536 (a). To that
end, the 1992 Cable Act directed the FCC to promulgate regu-
lations that "govern[ ] program carriage agreements and
related practices between cable operators or other multichan-

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
nel video programming distributors and video programming
vendors." 47 U.S.C. § 536 (a).
In October 1993, the FCC established rules to prevent mul-
tichannel video programming distributors "from taking undue
advantage of programming vendors through various practices,
including coercing vendors to grant ownership interests or
exclusive distribution rights to multichannel distributors in
exchange for carriage on their systems." Implementation of
Sections 12 & 19 of the Cable Tele. Consumer Protect. &
Competition Act of 1992 Dev. of Competition & Diversity in
Video Programming Distrib. & Carriage, Second Report and
Order
, 9 F.C.C. Rcd. 2642, 2643, ¶1 (1993) ("Program Car-
riage Order
"); see also 47 C.F.R. § 76.1301.
In developing these regulations, the FCC recognized "the
congressional intent to prohibit unfair or anticompetitive
actions without restraining the amount of multichannel pro-
gramming available by precluding legitimate business prac-
tices common to a competitive marketplace." Program
Carriage Order
, 9 FCC Rcd. at 2643, ¶1. Consequently, the
FCC sought to promulgate program carriage rules consistent
with the 1992 Cable Act "without unduly interfering with
legitimate negotiating practices between multichannel video
programming distributors and programming vendors." Id.
In July 2006, subject to several conditions, the FCC
approved Time Warner’s and Comcast Corporation’s pur-
chase of Adelphia Communications Corporation’s cable sys-
tems. See Applications for Consent to the Assignment and/or
Transfer of Control of Licenses, Adelphia Commc’ns Corp.,
Assignors to Time Warner Cable, Inc., Assignees, et al., Mem-
orandum Opinion & Order
, 21 F.C.C. Rcd. 8203 (2006)
("Adelphia Order"). Because the FCC found the transaction
had the potential to give Time Warner "an increased incentive
to deny carriage to rival unaffiliated [regional sports networks
(‘RSNs’)] with the intent of forcing the RSNs out of business
or discouraging potential rivals from entering the market,

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
5
thereby allowing [Time Warner] to obtain the valuable pro-
gramming for its affiliated RSNs," the FCC adopted a condi-
tion providing RSNs1 with an alternative avenue for redress of
alleged program carriage violations.2 Id. at 8287, ¶189. Under
that condition, in lieu of filing a complaint with the FCC, an
RSN unaffiliated with any multichannel video programming
distributor that is denied carriage by Time Warner may sub-
mit its carriage claim to commercial arbitration within thirty
days after that denial. See id. at 8287-88, ¶¶190-191.
Further, within thirty days after publication of the arbitra-
tion decision, a party may file a petition with the FCC to chal-
lenge the arbitrator’s award. Id. at 8339, Appendix B. The
FCC reviews the arbitrator’s award de novo and "examine[s]
the same evidence that was presented to the arbitrator and . . .
choose[s] the final offer of the party that most closely approx-
imates the fair market value of the programming carriage
rights at issue." Id.
B.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is an unaffiliated RSN that
owns the rights to produce and exhibit nearly all of the games
of two Major League Baseball franchises—the Baltimore Ori-
1For purposes of the conditions adopted in the Adelphia Order, the FCC
defined "regional sports network" ("RSN") to mean, "any non-broadcast
video programming service that (1) provides live or same-day distribution
within a limited geographic region of sporting events of a sports team that
is a member of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Associa-
tion, the National Football League, the National Hockey League,
NASCAR, NCAA Division I Football, NCAA Division I Basketball and
(2) in any year, carries a minimum of either 100 hours of programming
that meets the criteria of subheading 1, or 10% of the regular season
games of at least one sports team that meets the criteria of subheading 1."
See Adelphia Order, 21 F.C.C. Rcd. at 8336.
2Appendix B of the Adelphia Order sets out the program access condi-
tions, remedies under the commercial arbitration, rules of arbitration, and
review of arbitration award by the FCC. See Adelphia Order, 21 F.C.C.
Rcd. at 8336–39, Appendix B, ¶158.

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
oles and the Washington Nationals. Since its launch, Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network has sought program carriage on the
networks of multichannel video programming distributors
throughout its television territory, which stretches from Penn-
sylvania to North Carolina.
Time Warner owns multiple cable systems in several states
and is the largest provider of pay television service in North
Carolina. All of Time Warner’s customers subscribe to the
"basic" tier, which includes broadcast stations and public
access services, and approximately ninety percent of its cus-
tomers further subscribe to the "cable programming services
tier," which includes services such as the Discovery Channel
and A&E. J.A. 1034. The basic tier and cable programming
services tiers are collectively referred to as the "analog tier."
Id. As Time Warner has upgraded its cable systems to allow
for digital transmission, it has used its digital spectrum to pro-
vide a "digital basic tier," which includes a multitude of addi-
tional video program services. Id. Approximately half of Time
Warner’s customers are digital basic subscribers.
Among other programming interests, Time Warner is affili-
ated with News 14, a regional service established by Time
Warner in 2002 that provides local news and weather pro-
gramming. News 14 telecasted games of the Charlotte Bob-
cats basketball team during the period of Time Warner’s
negotiations with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. At the time
that Mid-Atlantic Sports Network requested carriage on Time
Warner’s systems, Time Warner was also affiliated with Tur-
ner South, an RSN that held the distribution rights for several
professional sports teams, including the Atlanta Thrashers
hockey team, the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, and the
Atlanta Braves baseball team.
C.
In March 2005, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network initiated
negotiations with Time Warner for program carriage in North

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
7
Carolina on an analog tier. During negotiations, Time Warner
proposed carriage of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network program-
ming on a digital sports tier or on an analog tier in Time War-
ner’s cable systems only in eastern North Carolina. However,
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network wanted program carriage on the
statewide analog tier. In May 2007, negotiations broke down.
In June 2007, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network filed an arbitra-
tion demand with the American Arbitration Association, pur-
suant to the procedure established in the Adelphia Order. At
an arbitration hearing held in May 2008, Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network argued that, among other things, in violation of Sec-
tion 536(a) (a)(3) of the 1992 Cable Act, Time Warner
engaged in discrimination by denying Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network carriage on Time Warner’s statewide analog tier,
which Time Warner offered to its affiliated RSNs. On June 2,
2008, the arbitrator issued a Decision and Award in favor of
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, after determining that Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network "carried its burden of proof to estab-
lish that [Time Warner] treated [Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work] differently from [Time Warner’s] affiliated RSNs."3
J.A. 709. The arbitrator found that Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work competed with RSNs in which Time Warner has or had
ownership interests across its footprint and concluded that in
denying program carriage of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network,
Time Warner discriminated against Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work based on affiliation.
Time Warner, in turn, filed a Petition for Review of the
Arbitration Decision and Award with the FCC, defending its
decision to decline to carry Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on
a statewide analog tier as a legitimate business decision and
3The first arbitration hearing was held on December 17, 2007, and that
arbitrator ruled that Time Warner illegally discriminated on the basis of
affiliation in refusing to carry Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. However,
Time Warner successfully petitioned to remove the arbitrator after he
answered questions from the trade press about the arbitration.

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
urging the FCC to set aside the ruling.4 On October 30, 2008,
the Media Bureau agreed with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
and affirmed the arbitration Decision and Award on the basis
that Time Warner’s denial of carriage on an analog tier in
North Carolina was discriminatory in violation of the 1992
Cable Act, the FCC’s program carriage rules, and the Adel-
phia Order
, and that "such discrimination unreasonably
restrained the ability of [Mid-Atlantic Sports Network] to
compete fairly." J.A. 1039. The Media Bureau ordered Time
Warner to launch Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on the analog
tier of all of its North Carolina systems within thirty days.
In November 2008, Time Warner filed an Application for
Review of the Media Bureau Order before the full FCC.5 In
December 2010, after reviewing the record de novo, the FCC
reversed and vacated the Media Bureau Order, concluding
that Mid-Atlantic Sports Network had "failed to demonstrate
that Time Warner has impermissibly discriminated pursuant
to [47 U.S.C. § 536 (a)(3)] and its implementing rules." J.A.
4Although the Adelphia Order directs that review of the arbitration
award be by the FCC itself, that body has delegated this function to the
FCC Media Bureau pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 155(c)(1): "When necessary
to the proper functioning of the Commission and the prompt and orderly
conduct of its business, the Commission may, by published rule or by
order, delegate any of its functions [subject to certain exceptions] to a
panel of commissioners, an individual commissioner, an employee board,
or an individual employee, including functions with respect to hearing,
determining, ordering, certifying, reporting, or otherwise acting as to any
work, business, or matter."
5Pursuant to the Adelphia Order, the FCC may not hold another eviden-
tiary hearing or allow the parties to adduce new evidence. See Adelphia
Order
, 21 F.C.C. Rcd. at Appendix B § B.4c. ("In reviewing the award,
the Commission will examine the same evidence that was presented to the
arbitrator and will choose the final offer of the party that closely approxi-
mates the fair market value of the programming carriage rights at issue.").
However, a decision by the Media Bureau is not binding upon the FCC,
which retains certain authorities for itself. See 47 U.S.C. § 155(c)(6) ("If
the Commission grants the application for review, it may . . . set aside the
order [or] decision. . . .").

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
9
1065. The FCC found that very few cable subscribers in
North Carolina were interested in watching the games of pro-
fessional teams from Baltimore and Washington. The FCC
further found that Time Warner would incur costs of approxi-
mately $10 million per year if it carried Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network. Additionally, the FCC found that, unlike the car-
riage of the Time Warner affiliate News 14 Charlotte Bobcats
games, which did not require a separate channel or cost any
additional money, the carriage of Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work would necessitate two new analog channels and an addi-
tional charge of sixty cents per subscriber per month.
Moreover, the FCC noted that Time Warner did not com-
pletely refuse to carry Mid-Atlantic Sports Network under any
circumstances but instead offered to carry Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network on a digital tier. The FCC concluded that
Time Warner had provided legitimate and non-discriminatory
reasons for rejecting Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s carriage
proposal. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network now petitions this
Court to vacate the FCC’s Order and remand the case to the
FCC with instructions for the FCC to issue a final decision
within sixty days.
II.
A.
When assessing the reasonableness of the FCC’s decision,
the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") requires this Court
to affirm the decision unless it is "arbitrary, capricious, an
abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law."
5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(a). "Review under this standard is highly
deferential, with a presumption in favor of finding the agency
action valid." Ohio Valley Envtl. Coal. v. Aracoma Coal Co.,
556 F.3d 177, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). Moreover, "[i]n conduct-
ing our review under the APA, ‘we perform only the limited,
albeit important, task of reviewing agency action to determine
whether the agency conformed with controlling statutes, and

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
whether the agency has committed a clear error of judg-
ment.’" Hodges v. Abraham, 300 F.3d 432, 449 n.17 (4th Cir.
2002) (quoting Md. Dep’t of Human Res. v. U.S. Dep’t of
Agric.
, 976 F.2d 1462, 1475 (4th Cir. 1992)).
B.
We first address Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s contention
that the FCC erroneously credited Time Warner’s post hoc
justifications for what Mid-Atlantic Sports Network charac-
terizes as Time Warner’s discriminatory refusal to carry Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network. Specifically, Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network attacks the admissibility of the sworn statements of
Carol Hevey, Time Warner’s Executive Vice President of
Operations for North Carolina, and Brian Kelly, a Time War-
ner executive who reports to Hevey, as post hoc justifications
invented for the purpose of litigation.6 We find that even if the
statements post-dated the initiation of this litigation, the FCC
reasonably credited the sworn statements and testimonies of
Hevey and Kelly.
6To bolster this argument, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network relies on sev-
eral employment discrimination cases: EEOC v. Sears Roebuck & Co.,
243 F.3d 846, 853 (4th Cir. 2001); McKennon v. Nashville Banner Publ’g
Co.
, 513 U.S. 352, 359-60 (1995); and Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490
U.S. 228, 252 (1989). These cases are, however, distinguishable from the
case at bar. In Sears, the defendant "offered different justifications at dif-
ferent times." 243 F.3d at 852. Unlike the defendant in Sears, Time War-
ner has not offered differing explanations for its decision. Instead, Time
Warner has maintained that it denied Mid-Atlantic Sports Network analog
carriage throughout North Carolina because the costs of carriage exceeded
the benefits.
Nor is this a situation in which Time Warner’s asserted reason for its
decision did not actually "motivate it at the time of the decision," Price
Waterhouse
, 490 U.S. at 252, or in which it is impossible for the defendant
to have acted for the reason it offered, see McKennon, 513 U.S. at 352,
359-60 (1995) (observing that because employee’s "misconduct was not
discovered until after she had been fired," employer "could not have been
motivated by knowledge it did not have" at the relevant time).

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
11
In her sworn declaration, Hervey recounted that she and her
staff "took into account the cost of [Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work’s] programming." J.A. 144. Hevey projected that if
Time Warner had agreed to pay the rights demanded by Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network, i.e., sixty cents per subscriber per
month, cable bills would have increased for the majority of
cable subscribers, and Time Warner would have had to pay
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network "almost $10 million per year"
for analog coverage, despite that [Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work] would not likely generate enough revenue to cover this
rights fee. J.A. 547. Hevey’s testimony also reflected that
Time Warner considered the opportunity costs associated with
analog carriage of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, including
that because Time Warner lacked vacant channels on its ana-
log tiers in North Carolina, carriage of Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network on an analog tier would require Time Warner to
delete existing programming services.
In another sworn declaration, Brian Kelly confirmed that
he, Hevey, and other Time Warner employees "participated in
numerous discussions" concerning the weak demand in North
Carolina for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s telecasts of Ori-
oles and Nationals baseball games. J.A. 344. They concluded
that there was "relatively little interest in the Orioles" in North
Carolina "and even less in the Nationals." J.A. 344-45. When
Kelly "personally made inquiries concerning the ratings" for
Fox Sports South’s North Carolina telecasts of Orioles games
in past seasons, he discovered that those "ratings were low."
J.A. 345.
Contrary to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s argument chal-
lenging these statements as being impermissible post hoc jus-
tifications, the decisions of our sister circuits, in
discrimination cases, persuasively guide us to decline to read
significance solely into the timing of a defendant’s explana-
tion or the absence of contemporaneous evidence. See, e.g.,
Merrick v. Farmers Ins. Group, 892 F.2d 1434, 1438 (9th Cir.
1990) (rejecting argument that an employer’s reasons for not

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
promoting an employee "lack[ed] credibility" because they
"were not documented until after the commencement of" liti-
gation); Adeyemi v. District of Columbia, 525 F.3d 1222,
1228 (D.C. Cir. 2008) ("declin[ing] to find any significance
in the timing of [the defendant’s] explanation" or "the absence
of contemporaneous evidence," and rejecting plaintiff’s argu-
ment that the defendant had "manufactured its justifications
after the fact"). Accordingly, we find that the FCC reasonably
credited Hevey’s and Kelly’s uncontradicted testimony.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network also asserts that Time Warner
failed to "produce a single contemporaneous document sup-
porting even one of [the reasons offered by Hevey], mak[ing]
it implausible (at best) that these were truly the factors moti-
vating [Time Warner’s] decision." Pet’r’s Br. at 45. Time
Warner counters that it supplied a contemporaneous email
exchange between two Time Warner employees, Mickey Car-
ter and Tom Smith, buttressing Time Warner’s sworn testi-
mony that the limited demand for Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network programming played a key role in Time Warner’s
rejection of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s proposal. None-
theless, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network contends that the con-
temporaneous email exchange provides no credible evidence
of the actual reasons why Time Warner Cable refused to carry
its programming on an analog channel.
The referenced document, a copy of an August 2006 email
exchange between two Time Warner employees, Mickey Car-
ter and Tom Smith, reads in pertinent part:
CARTER: Do your systems in Eastern North Caro-
lina receive Fox Sports South? If so, do you receive
any Baltimore Orioles games on Fox Sports South?
SMITH: We are in the Baltimore footprint and have
NO Baltimore fans to speak of. There is a HUGE
Atlanta fan base here, we have no way to deliver
what they want . . . .

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
13
CARTER: Your feedback has been very helpful —
my gut has been that your market can’t have many
Oriole fans.
J.A. 201-02.
This contemporaneous documentary evidence is consistent
with Time Warner’s sworn testimonial evidence that there
was limited demand for Orioles games in North Carolina.
Accordingly, this e-mail exchange bolsters the unrefuted
sworn statements of Hevey and Kelly that the limited demand
for Orioles games in North Carolina played a key role in Time
Warner’s decision-making. Moreover, all such evidence
underscores that the FCC’s conclusion that Time Warner’s
business justifications provided a legitimate non-
discriminatory reason for denying Mid-Atlantic Sports Net-
work carriage on its statewide analog tier was not unreason-
able, capricious, or otherwise unlawful.
Additionally, contrary to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s
assertion, the lack of documentation corroborating Time War-
ner defenses does not undermine the FCC Order. The FCC
directly addressed this issue and noted that "there is nothing
in [1992 Cable Act] or its implementing rules requir[ing] pro-
gram carriage defendants to memorialize any aspect of their
decision making process." J.A. 1076. The FCC also noted it
did not find any evidence in the record "that cable operators
typically document their internal carriage discussions." Id.
Accordingly, "the absence of contemporaneous evidence is
hardly unusual," Adeyemi, 525 F.3d at 1228, and that it does
not seem unusual for a company to "wait[ ] to memorialize
the reasons" for a challenged decision until after litigation is
commenced. Merrick, 892 F.2d at 1438. Therefore, we con-
clude that the FCC reasonably accepted Time Warner’s sworn
testimony in the absence of contemporaneous evidence to
rebut allegations of program carriage discrimination.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network also asserts that the FCC
made factual findings not supported by substantial evidence,

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
specifically key findings regarding demand for Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network’s programming, the high cost of Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network carriage, and limited channel capacity for
analog coverage of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. This Court
"must affirm" such findings "as long as they are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole." NLRB v.
Grand Canyon Mining Co.
, 116 F.3d 1039, 1043-44 (4th Cir.
1997) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "Sub-
stantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion."
NLRB v. HQM of Bayside, LLC, 518 F.3d 256, 260 (4th Cir.
2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
Here, contrary to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s assertion,
the record contains substantial evidence supporting the FCC’s
findings regarding Time Warner’s business justifications for
denying Mid-Atlantic Sports Network statewide analog tier
carriage. Specifically, the sworn statements of Hevey and
Kelly, as well as the e-mail exchange between Carter and
Smith, along with other evidence in the record, support the
FCC’s findings regarding demand for Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network’s programming, the high cost of carriage, and lim-
ited channel capacity for analog coverage of Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network’s programming. Accordingly, we must affirm
those findings.
C.
We next consider Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s argument
that it made an indisputable prima facie showing of program-
carriage discrimination by showing that Time Warner treated
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network less favorably than its affiliated
RSNs. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network asserts that, after it
established a prima facie discrimination case, the burdens of
production and persuasion shifted to Time Warner to show
legitimate and non-discriminatory reasons for its carriage
decision.

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
15
In its Order, the FCC acknowledged that the "weight of the
evidence resides with [Time Warner]." J.A. 1067 n.58. Even
assuming that the burdens of production and persuasion had
shifted to Time Warner, the FCC explained that Time Warner
prevailed because it succeeded in showing legitimate, non-
discriminatory reasons for its carriage decision. This aspect of
the FCC’s decision is consistent with the language of the 1992
Cable Act and the FCC’s corresponding regulation, see 47
C.F.R. § 76.1301(c), and also with "the congressional intent
to prohibit unfair or anticompetitive actions without . . . pre-
cluding legitimate business practices common to a competi-
tive marketplace." See Program Carriage Order, 9 F.C.C.
Rcd. at 2643, ¶1.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has failed to show that, even
assuming that it made a prima facie discrimination case, Time
Warner did not effectively rebut that case with evidence sup-
porting legitimate, non-discriminatory business reasons for its
denial of statewide analog tier carriage, or that the analytical
framework applied by the FCC to its decision in this regard
was erroneous.
D.
Finally, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network argues that the
FCC’s Order will harm competition and consumers.
The FCC’s program carriage rules broadly prohibit multi-
channel video programming distributors from "engag[ing] in
conduct the effect of which is to unreasonably restrain the
ability of an unaffiliated programming vendor to compete
fairly" by discriminating against such vendor "on the basis of
affiliation or nonaffiliation." 47 C.F.R. § 76.1301(c). In
implementing the program carriage rules, the FCC opted to
deal with discrimination claims on a case-by-case basis,
which would best meet Congress’s goal of ensuring that "le-
gitimate business practices" fuel competition, leading to
"greater availability of programming to the multichannel

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TCR SPORTS BROADCASTING v. FCC
video marketplace." See Program Carriage Order, 9 F.C.C.
Rcd. at 2648, ¶15. The FCC determined that dealing with
claims on a case-by-case basis would best meet Congress’
goal of ensuring that "legitimate business practices" fuel com-
petition, leading to "greater availability of programming to the
multichannel video marketplace." Id.
This case was evaluated individually, and it was deter-
mined that "legitimate business practices common to a com-
petitive marketplace," id., underpinned Time Warner’s
decision to deny statewide analog tier carriage. The FCC con-
cluded that the "high cost of carriage" of Mid-Atlantic Sports
Network was a "legitimate and non-discriminatory" reason for
its refusal to carry Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on a state-
wide analog tier. J.A. 1075. Additionally, the FCC found that
Time Warner was willing to negotiate with Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network over digital carriage programming throughout
North Carolina, as well as an analog tier programming in east-
ern North Carolina. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network rejected
those proposals, which would have provided access of Mid-
Atlantic Sports Network’s programming to Time Warner sub-
scribers. Accordingly, we find the evidence supports the
FCC’s determination that Time Warner’s decision was
"driven by factors other than a desire to force [Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network] out of business or discourage [Mid-Atlantic
Sports Network] from entering the market." J.A. 1077. There-
fore, we find that Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has failed to
show how such legitimate business decisions harm competi-
tion or consumers.
III.
In sum, with its Order, the FCC acted neither arbitrarily nor
capriciously nor otherwise unlawfully. We therefore deny the
petition for review and affirm the FCC Order.
AFFIRMED

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