According to the Los Angeles Times:The last time a U.S. Senator tackled the NFL blackout issue, it didn't get very far. However, the NFL did loosen its blackout policy a (teeny, tiny, miniscule) bit last year.
McCain's bill also calls for elimination of the sports blackout rule which prohibits a local TV station from showing an NFL game that is going on in its market if the event is not sold out. McCain wants to gut that rule for any team whose stadium was funded with taxpayer dollars.The blackout is not the paramount measure in McCain's legislation, which is actually about allowing satellite and cable companies to start selling channels on an individual or "a la carte" basis to consumers. McCain says his Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 will "help shift the landscape to benefit television consumers."
For years McCain has blasted the cable companies for charging customers for channels that they never watch. It's called bundling, and the Arizona Senator said on Thursday it's time for content providers to stop charging that way.
"When the venue in which these sporting events take place has been the beneficiary of taxpayer funding, it is unconscionable to deny those taxpayers who paid for it the ability to watch the games on television when they would otherwise be available," McCain said.
For all the criticism about the blackout rule, it should be noted that before Congress intervened in 1973, no NFL home games were broadcast in a local market, regardless of whether the game was sold out or not.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Sen. McCain Wants to Buck NFL Blackouts
Creative Loafing's Mitch Perry and the Los Angeles Times report that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is pushing for new legislation to ban blackouts in NFL stadiums subsidized with public dollars. The "Maverick" of Capital Hill is ironically floating an idea we heard last year from the "Maverick" of the Florida Legislature, Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey: