FCC Proposes to End Its Sports Blackout Rules

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it intends to get rid of its sports blackout rules, which would free cable providers to show sporting events even if local broadcasters have blacked out the games to their audiences. 

According to The Hill, "currently, the NFL negotiates with broadcasters to blackout football games as a way to encourage ticket sales. If a local broadcaster is prohibited from showing a game, FCC rules prohibit cable and satellite companies across the country from showing that game."

“Changes in the marketplace have raised questions about whether these rules are still in the public interest, particularly at a time when high ticket prices and the economy make it difficult for many sports fans to attend games,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said in a statement.  

As The Hill notes, though, "if the FCC were to eliminate its blackout rules, the NFL would still be able to negotiate with TV companies to have the games blacked out, but the FCC would not be involved in those agreements."

“Elimination of our sports blackout rules will not prevent the sports leagues, broadcasters and cable and satellite providers from privately negotiating agreements to black out certain sports events,” Clyburn said.


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