Posted November 02, 2013

FCC may put an end to NFL’s TV blackouts

NFL
The FCC is looking to stop NFL blackouts.

The NFL currently prevents games from being shown locally if ticket sales are not high enough. (Al Messerschmidt/ Getty Images)

The Federal Communications Commission is looking to put an end to the NFL’s blackout rules, allowing every game to be broadcast locally regardless of ticket sales, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.

The FCC is crafting a proposal that would require the NFL to show each team’s games in its home market, arguing that those who cannot afford tickets should not be punished:

‘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,’ said FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn.

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The NFL has yet to blackout a game in the 2013 season although it has relaxed its rules so that only 85% of non-premium seats need to be sold to avoid a blackout. The league has also allowed tickets to be sold at a deep discount to sponsors in order to avoid blackouts in some markets.

Senator John McCain of Arizona proposed a bill earlier this year that would ban blackouts of games being played in publicly funded stadiums.


36 comments
gpellison68
gpellison68

Believe me, this kind of ruling is long over due, but do not count on it. Money is involved here and the NFL has plenty of friends and lobbying power in D.C. to get this squelched! Oops... I said too much. If anything happens to me, start with the CIA! lol

Cool
Cool

Using the blackout rule in this era is about as effective as sending a child to their room, equipped with WiFi and a laptop and HD television, as punishment.

kj4027
kj4027

For once i agree with a Republican. McCain has a very valid point, if stadiums are publicly financed then the games should never be blacked out. Taxpayers are footing the bill for the stadiums so they should be able to watch the games on network TV.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

Why is the FCC stepping into this situation? The NFL is shooting itself in the foot by blacking out games. Instead of creating fan interest they "punish" fans by refusing to show games. In some cities I suspect fans would be happy to watch other games with teams less hapless. The bottom line is that the NFL's outrageous ticket prices are starting to take a bite out of attendance. The core of the NFL fan base is well paid blue collar workers. This demographic is rapidly disappearing. There are only so many lawyers and doctors who want to buy club seats. People who earn $10 hour are not buying $200 football tickets. Yet another consequence of the disappearing middle class.

BallRush
BallRush

Despite TV contracts, the economics of the NFL still require that team's do well with ticket sales, suite leases and concessions.  But there is a MAJOR change going on with the NFL fan.  He/she can get a different and arguably better experience staying at home - I can watch on High Def, I can watch the game when I want, I can pause the game to go make a sandwich, I can follow other teams on Sunday Ticket, I can play fantasy football and follow my team...  versus - a long, expensive and potentially uncomfortable day at the stadium.  I am a season ticket holder, and I DON"T GO ANYMORE.  It's better at home in my opinion.  In 10 years, mark my words, fans will be paying to watch their teams... from home.  And eventually, stadium ticket prices will be coming down, and/or as another poster pointed out, the prices will stay high, but it will be a more intimate (i.e. smaller) stadium with better sigh-lines, more video and information in the stadium, etc, ,etc.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Teams can make more by showing the games on TV than selling tickets. Game length has gone from three hours to three and a quarter and heading for three and a half. But they still only play 60 minutes.  That extra time is for ads. And it's not going to stop. I won't be surprised to see a commercial after every first down in the future. Who needs sold out stadiums after that?

Mulligan
Mulligan

Look above and below ladies and gentlemen. If only people were so passionate about their politicians, their schools, and their society's future.

Sad, really.

therednorth1
therednorth1

People joke about how Jacksonville should be moved to London, or even the Rams should move to LA, but if the NFL hasn't blacked out a game all year, should that not say something about fan support?

mystafugee
mystafugee

In a perfect world, all the cities, counties, and states would get together and agree not to use any public money to build stadiums for NFL teams.  

FaatherCzasu
FaatherCzasu

Awesome!

The FCC should go further, methinks.

The FCC should ban any showing of commercials during games AND they should ban the showing of any game in which the median price of a ticket costs more than two hours worth of employment at the local (MSA) median hourly wage.

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

I am one that can't afford ticket prices but trust me if my local team is so bad that they can't sell tickets to those that can afford them, I don't want to have to watch them on tv either.  Show me a game worth watching.

Slatlantican
Slatlantican

If this goes through, the next proposed NFL stadium will be smaller than every current stadium in the league.

NeoSmith
NeoSmith

With the "poor" owners begging cities for stadium deals when they are raking the cash, this move by the FCC is not in the public's best interest?!  How much stealing can you condone?!

BamaRules
BamaRules

Good.  Here in the Dallas market there will probably be a never be a non-sellout because such volumes of tickets are purchased by corporations as a "business expense."  But should corporations ever be required to spend their stockholders' money responsibly and ethically, Jerryworld will be half empty because there is no way the average middle class fan can afford to attend games in this place.  So does Jerry want to lose more fans than he already has because they can't even see them lose on TV?  I wouldn't think so!

kj4027
kj4027

@Cool Except the child still can't watch any of the games on those fancy devices unless someone has purchased a sports package.

gpellison68
gpellison68

@kj4027 Kj? Why do you only agree with this Logic and not the rest of the Logical decisions and positions of the Republican Party? If it were up to the Dems, the Government would own the NFL, we would get a fifth rate product with crappy reception, poor teams, and the Government would reap all the profits for the select few who belong to the Communist Party, I mean, DNC!

scBlais
scBlais

@Mulligan What a stupid comment.  The belief that because people have a passion about something others view as frivolous automatically means they can't also be passionate about the important and serious matters in life is plain idiotic.

This a place to discuss sport.  There are other places where a good number of us discuss politics, schools and general society with great passion.  But not here.  So piss off with your sanctimonious crap.

villepeople
villepeople

@therednorth1 Jacksonville attendance issues were always overblown by the media. They basically had one really bad year of attendance, 2009. The year after the US economic collapse.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@therednorth1 In Tampa the only reason the games aren't blacked out is because a corporation bought up enough tickets to guarantee that we always hit the 85% threshold.  That could be happening in other places as well.  That was unfortunate in our case because we're trying to make a statement to the owners that we want Schiano fired. 

ApolloOne
ApolloOne

@FaatherCzasu  

And then the gov't should make people buy health care to pay for others....oh, wait.

joe6647
joe6647

@Slatlantican damn, i feel bad for NFL teams that only make 10's of millions instead of 100's of millions.  Breaks my heart

Chris8
Chris8

@Slatlantican You might see that anyway?  What with it costing so much to go to a game, and the growing advantages of being able to watch from home smaller capacity stadiums might make sense.

Pierre1
Pierre1

@Slatlantican Actually Oakland has talked about building a 50k seat stadium. Could see that become a trend, I agree.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@BamaRules Just because you don't have money doesn't mean that others don't have money.  Every time I see the Cowboys on TV that stadium is packed.  They even sell out tours of the stadium at over $20 a pop. 

kj4027
kj4027

@scBlais @Mulligan Why is his point stupid? Because you don't agree with it? You think the amount of time that people spend on football is more important than our societal problems? It's just a stupid game. Does a football game really impact or change your life? Voting in a bunch of tea baggers has had more of a detrimental effect on our lives than a football game.

hyphenite
hyphenite

And they should call it Medicaid!  Oh, wait. 

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@80kdot @Jonathan T I agree with 80kdot.  Only an idiot supports no matter what.  You can still love your team but if you just blindly go and give them money regardless of how dysfunctional or poorly managed a team is, then you're a part of the problem.  Fans have control if they hit the owners in the wallet. 

Frotoon
Frotoon

An idiot supports no matter what.

JKT
JKT

@kj4027 @scBlais @Mulligan Because it's not an either/or world. It's quite possible to be passionate about more than one thing. Don't view the world as black and white, and you'll be surprised how much more you see.