NFL Blackouts Fight Finally Goes To FCC
More than a year later, Frederick and his fan advocacy group's pleas have been heard. Last week the FCC agreed to review the NFL's blackout policy, which dates back to an act of Congress in 1961 that prevents home games from being shown by TV stations that broadcast within a 75-mile radius of the stadium if tickets aren't sold out 72 hours before kickoff. The commission will be taking public comment through February on a rule it wrote in 1975 that bolsters that NFL policy by requiring cable and satellite stations to refrain from broadcasting games blacked out by local broadcasters.
|Anheuser-Busch performed some Bud Light bailouts of Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars games last year.|
There were 16 NFL games blacked out in their home markets this year, leaving fans of the San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers without television access to games played in stadiums paid for with taxpayer money -- as 31 of the NFL's 32 stadiums are. The NFL argues that this year's 6.3% blackout rate is down compared with 8% of games between 2001 and 2010, 31% of games in the 1990s, 40% in the 1980s and 50% in the 1970s. Before the government intervened in 1973, all of a team's home games were blacked out.