FCC May Be Eliminating the NFL Blackout Rule

FCC Considering Lifting the NFL Blackout Rule

Now, you may not be able to tailgate at the Super Bowl, but you soon may be able to watch your favorite NFL team on TV even if the game isn’t sold out. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering lifting its nearly 40-year ban on broadcasting non-sold-out football games.

The blackout rule has been in place since 1975, but recent FCC maneuverings have demonstrated that this rule may be getting abolished. The FCC’s five-member commission recently unanimously voted to repeal the rule. While just the first step in the process, it’s still an important move: The FCC has come to realize that the rule is completely outdated.

“The sports blackout rules were originally adopted nearly 40 years ago when game ticket sales were the main source of revenue for sports leagues,” the FCC stated. “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.”

The next steps include having the public comment on the proposed change, and then a ruling will come down in 2014. One issue that the FCC may run into is that the NFL is vehemently opposed to the rules change. In a statement, the NFL said that it strongly opposes any change.

“We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago. While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”

Most fans, however, already love the idea of eliminating the blackout. How about you?

Regardless of whether you can watch your team on TV or not, you can always go to the games. And talk about your perfect Christmas gift for all you last-minute shoppers!

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