Skip to comments.FCC might end sports blackout rule (they want public comment first)
Posted on 01/13/2012 4:53:08 PM PST by Libloather
FCC might end sports blackout rule
By Brendan Sasso - 01/13/12 03:19 PM ET
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday issued a formal request for public comment on a proposal to end its sports blackout rule.
The rule, first adopted in 1975, prohibits cable and satellite providers from carrying a sports event if the game is blacked out on local broadcast television stations.
Dropping the rule would have the most effect on the National Football League, which requires broadcasters to black out games if the local team does not sell out the stadium. The rule is meant to encourage fans to buy tickets to see the game live.
The league blacked out 16 games in 2011, down from 26 last season.
Robert McDowell, a commissioner at the FCC, said he was "delighted" the agency is re-examining the rule.
"Over almost four decades, the economics and structure of both the sports and communications industries have experienced dramatic evolutions," McDowell said in a statement. "We now live in a world with not only local broadcast stations, but also cable, satellite, the Internet and wireless, and where television and merchandizing revenues exceed ticket sales. It is appropriate for us to re-examine the rule in light of marketplace changes.
The move was in response to a petition led by the Sports Fans Coalition and other consumer groups.
The groups argued that the FCC should abandon the blackout rule in light of high unemployment levels and expensive game tickets. They also noted that sports leagues could privately negotiate blackouts without the FCC enforcing the rule.
"Fans around the country welcome the news that the government is reconsidering its role in propping up the league's unethical and counterproductive blackout policies," Brian Frederick, a spokesman for the Sports Fans Coalition, said in an email. "For too long, fans haven't had a voice on these issues but now they are being heard."
In a statement, the NFL noted that it is the only sports league that broadcasts all of its regular season and playoff games on local television.
"The policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets; keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV," the NFL said. "Teams continue to work hard to sell tickets, including offering installment payment plans, group ticket sales and price flexibility."
I would like tickets that didn’t cost a small fortune to go watch the local thugs and rapists who make living wearing purple and gold.
The administration must have figured out a way of raising funds “in consideration”.
The federal govt. had no constitutional authority to regulate this in the first place...unless, I suppose, it was a copyright issue.
The Dish blacks out games if you have a team in your viewing area. I am not in favor of this even though I live in Florida and would love to see my Minnesota Twins on the Dish. This is just a play to fans because they vote and would hurt the franchises. In Florida fan support for pro teams are terrible already this would make it worse.
This "rule" hasn't been honored for a long time. The Jets and the Giants aren't always (really) sold out anymore. But the games here in the NYC market are always broadcast on regular TV.
Probably because Oakland started winning this season.
I remember stories of the broadcast blackout where the December 23rd, 1972 game of the Steelers vs. The Raiders, where the Immaculate Reception occurred, was not televised on local stations. However, I’ve heard many stories where there was quite a few people who tried to pull in the game from WJAC-TV in Johnstown, PA, one guy said he sat in his attic using a 1940’s era TV with rabbit ears.
Precisely, this is a private contract issue and should be nothing more.
We pay for these darn stadiums when idiots vote for the cities to give welfare to the team owners. That’s the problem we have in Arlington. Then the games are ridiculously over priced so that your average family can’t afford it.
They should air the game. Our taxes paid for it already.
Surely the existing TV contract speaks to blacking games out?
I have heard stories about wealthy businessmen buying up the last few tickets so that a game could be on local TV.
this is a lie. monday night football is on espn. that is NOT a local channel anywhere.’
and then there are the games that are on the nfl channel. THAT is not a local channel either
This sounds like a ploy to get brain dead football fanatics to swallow every other poison pill the FCC wants to shove down our throats.
The goal is to stop commerce. If you wrap it in chocolate and serve it to football fans (who normally vote Republican) it’s a double victory.
Games on the NFL network are carried by a local over-the-air station in the home markets of the teams involved.
I agree. Plus I’ve never understood the math. OK, if you have a sucky team like the Colts (THIS year!) that doesn’t sell out the stadium, you still have potentially thousands of local viewers who would watch the game on TV. Therefore you can sell advertising. That makes MONEY, right? Don’t the owners like MONEY? Don’t stations like MONEY?
Although your deductive logic is sound, its the underlying caveat that is in violation of just principles. IF the local government builds a stadium, they should require that users rent it at a market rate. I would also never build a football stadium unless I at least owned the rights to at least the name of the team to play in it.
Its better all the way around to keep the private and public separate and let the NFL do as they please with ticket sales, which currently appears to be overpricing them in the hope of getting only a higher middle-class ticket holder.
$250 per game for decent seats is not for the common folk, nor really even for people simply making $100,000 / year. I can take the family to the local baseball farm team and get great seats for the whole clan for under $50 or I can take them to an NFL game and drop $1000.