FCC Backs Proposal to End Sports Blackouts
The Federal Communications Commission (or, FCC) is moving to ban sports blackouts, and the National Football League is already lined up in opposition to the change. The FCC released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Wednesday, after adopting it on Tuesday; it would eliminate current blackout rules.
Blackout rules, the FCC explains, started almost 40 years ago. The rules prevent a broadcaster from transmitting a local sporting event if the stadium did not sell out. The rule was born in a different economic climate, the FCC said. Then, the main revenue for a sports league were game ticket sales, and blacking out the game on local TV was an attempt to keep attendance high.
According to the FCC, this is no longer the case. “Changes in the sports industry in the last four decades have called into question whether the sports blackout rules remain necessary to ensure the overall availability of sports programming to the general public.” Ultimately, the FCC believes the blackout rules no longer need to be in place.