The FCC Votes to End NFL Blackout Rule

at 2:41 pm | By
Cameraman filming an NFL game between the Giants and Rams

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, voted 5-0 Tuesday (Sept. 30) to end the sports blackout rule, which prevented local NFL games to be shown on TV if they didn’t sell out.

Even though the FCC has done away with the 40-year-old ban, it does not mean that the NFL has to stop blacking out the games. The FCC simply wanted to remove it’s association with the ban. The NFL still has programing contracts with broadcast TV stations blacking out games and can continue to do so.

The NFL remains in favor for the ban and argues that it provides an incentive for fans in local markets to buy tickets. Because there is no guarantee to see the game on TV, buying a ticket is the only way to make sure that you wouldn’t miss it. However, times have changed. Back in the day teams relied more on ticket sales for revenue. Nowadays, most of the money is made from airing the games on television.

These days, the blackouts are not much of a concern anyways. When the law was first established, 60% of games were blacked out. In 2013, only two of the 256 regular-season games were blacked out. There’s only a very small percentage of games that aren’t sold out, so there is no need to punish those fan bases because an entire stadium doesn’t fill up.

The NFL now has sole responsibility of the blackout ban, and coming at a time with so much controversy and scrutiny in the league. The NFL better do the right thing. It is not fair for fans who are unable to make it to the stadium to then be denied the option of watching their favorite team play on TV. ┬áSome people have a hard time getting to the games, or worse, can’t. The NFL is discriminating against the low-income Americans, disabled, and senior citizens.

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