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Old Yesterday, 03:11 PM    (permalink
vikes_28
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Default FCC Eliminates NFL Blackout Rule

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he Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it repealed its sports blackout rule for the National Football League, eliminating a decades-old ban on airing local games that were not sold out.

The rule change may not trigger significant changes for football fans since almost all NFL games are sold out. The league may still establish its own blackout rules through private contracts they set with broadcasters and cable companies.

In their contracts that run until 2022, the NFL requires broadcast networks to black out a game if a team does not sell out tickets at least 72 hours before the game starts. And the NFL plans to keep the contract in place.

But the FCC's rule change, approved unanimously by all five commissioners, means the agency no longer prohibits cable and satellite operators from airing any sports event that had been blacked out on a local broadcast station. And now they theoretically would be free to air a local game -- one that has been blacked out on the local broadcast station -- by carrying another station outside the market that's airing the game.

"NFL teams have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts," the NFL said in a statement. "The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television. The FCC's decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future."

Vigorously opposed by broadcasters, the blackout rule is "no longer justified in light of the significant changes in the sports industry since these rules were first adopted nearly forty years ago," the FCC said in a statement.

In the early 1970s, NFL teams relied primarily on ticket sales to generate revenue and the rule was implemented to encourage fans to attend games. But the league has diversified its revenue base by reaping billions in advertising and programming licensing fees from networks.

Despite player concussions and other controversies surrounding its players and teams, the league's popularity is growing unabated and only two NFL games were blacked out last season.

"Blackouts of NFL games are increasingly rare," the FCC said. "The NFL is the most profitable sports league in the country, with $6 billion in television revenue per year."

Broadcasters have maintained that changing the rule could drive more games away from over-the-air stations to pay-TV providers, like satellite and cable operators.

Cable operators cheered the FCC's move. "We commend the commission's unanimous decision to eliminate the antiquated sports blackout rule," said the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, in a statement. "We encourage the FCC to continue its examination of outdated rules that no longer make sense."
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Thoughts on this? Won't make a huge difference since a lot of games sell out anyways, but now the NFL is forced to air all games despite attendance.

Also, Mods, if this is in the wrong place, please move it.
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Old Yesterday, 03:12 PM    (permalink
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Would this mean on my sunday ticket on ps4 i could get locally aired games now too? i dont have cable and sometimes its a ***** to check in on the locally aired game
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Old Yesterday, 03:20 PM    (permalink
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Largely insignificant. The sport is too popular for blackouts to matter. As cited, only two all season last year.
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Old Yesterday, 03:38 PM    (permalink
TimmG6376
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Originally Posted by K Train View Post
Would this mean on my sunday ticket on ps4 i could get locally aired games now too? i dont have cable and sometimes its a ***** to check in on the locally aired game
That probably has more to do with the broadcast rights than the blackout rule.
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Old Yesterday, 05:29 PM    (permalink
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Games can still be blacked out.
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Old Yesterday, 06:49 PM    (permalink
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Old Yesterday, 06:59 PM    (permalink
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About ******* time. Blacking out games in publicly funded stadiums because the people who paid for the stadiums aren't filling them? **** you, NFL. **** you.
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