Thursday, December 19, 2013

FCC Moves Forward with Blackout Ban

According to USA Today (owned by the same company I work for), the FCC voted in favor of a proposal to eliminate blackouts:
"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 said. "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."

Even if the government eliminates its rule, nothing would preclude leagues, networks and cable outlets from agreeing to their own deals that would include a blackout rule, either matching the current structure or agreeing to a revised one.
The NFL pledged to fight any change in the rules, pointing to recent rule-changes as evidence.  Only one game out of 224 this year (Bengals at Chargers, Dec. 1) has been blacked out, although the Bills could make it a second this weekend.  According to USA Today, 50% of the 210 games were blacked out in 1978.


  1. Locally, we do not have to worry about TB Bucs blackouts for 2014 and 2015, because the naming rights deal with Raymond James expires in 2015. The reason the Glazers took care to make sure there were no blackouts this year, (it cost them next to nothing, as there were only 2 games where they had to buy tickets - Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons - cost of less than $400,000) - is because the TB Bucs were the clear cut Blackout Champions for 2010, 2012, 2013, and it was very visible to all. When they go three seasons in a row without blackouts - 2013, 2014, and 2015, nobody will remember that and they will be able to negotiate a lucrative naming rights deal with whoever.

  2. Everyone wants to cry about "blackouts", it's great to hold regions to going to games. All those small towns that pack 80-100k fans every Saturday don't want to hear it, and most other areas of the country that would love to have a NFL team to go see!