Posted December 19, 2013

NFL will ‘strongly oppose’ change to TV blackout rule

NFL
The NFL and FCC are at odds over a four-decade sports blackout rule. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

The NFL and FCC are at odds over a four-decade sports blackout rule. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

The National Football League said Thursday it opposes the Federal Communications Commission trying to end a 40-year sports blackout rule.

A blackout occurs when an NFL team doesn’t sell out its stadium, and the league’s blackout rule requires a team to sell out a game within 72 hours of kickoff in order to be shown on local television stations.

There have been only two blackouts because of attendance this year. The first one happened on Dec. 1 when the San Diego Chargers failed to sell out their home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.  The Buffalo Bills‘ home game against the Miami Dolphins this Sunday will also be blacked out.

The FCC said that the rule has “become outdated due to marketplace changes since their adoption, and whether modification or elimination of those rules is appropriate.”

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But the NFL says the blackout rules needs to continue to be in place because it helps fill stadiums and enhances the game for both the television viewer and fans that attends games.

“We will strongly oppose any change in the rule,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Politico.com.  “We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago.  While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”


64 comments
KennethB.Jacobs
KennethB.Jacobs

Quite simply, I cannot afford to go to a pro game - period - end of discussion

AlbertE.Bannister
AlbertE.Bannister

The NFL will drop a few Superbowl tickets on FCC big wigs so they can observe first hand the 'sold out stadium" environment in New Jersey and the issue will be dropped. 

commchf
commchf

10,000 crap seats at Qualcomm stadium that have to be sold every week or no TV is BS.

RS1022
RS1022

The only instance where extra tickets are sold to prevent a blackout occurs when sone local business buys enough seats fir it to be in tv... It can be smart move if they get the publicity of making the game available on TV for everyone in The area, and then they get a tax break for donating the tickets to a charity.

Dustin3
Dustin3

How can a blackout enhance the experience for the TV viewer if they can't watch the game? Perhaps the network puts on a better game instead?

Aaron14
Aaron14

I love how a "non-profit" is able to black out games if their profits aren't high enough.     And make no mistake, the Chargers owner and the Bills owner were not in any danger of not turning a profit.       #greedypigs 

BumperFromAtl
BumperFromAtl

Heck yeah the "environment" has changed.  The billionaire owners extort municipalities so that they fund (at least in part) construction of brand new billion dollar stadiums to replace perfectly good 20 year old stadiums (hello Atlanta!).  Personal Seat Licenses, exploding ticket prices, $10 beers, $5 sodas, $20 parking.  Most games still sell out, so there seems to be enough demand still, but not from this fan.  If they black out the games, it won't make it any more likely that I'll attend. I'll just lose interest.  If that's what you want NFL, then stick with your policy.

BobBCMI
BobBCMI

As much money as local people put into the building and maintenance of stadiums, enhancing the pockets of the NFL, players and especially owners, this "rule" (a greedy money grab) should be lifted.

Blinker
Blinker

Damn the NFL is greedy.  Owners are never satisfied with how much they rape the public to line their pockets.  The owners also have to make up for paying one player $150,000,000 for a grown man to play a kid's game for 5 years.  I think they are just pissed now that almost everyone has a flat panel TV with HD.  There is no need to go pay for a ticket, parking, overpriced food and drinks when you can watch the games in the comfort of your home.  Oh well....  if my games are blacked out I guess I just will not be watching.

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

Many good comments here.  I agree that I doubt people go to games because they would be blacked out, so the blackout don't help draw fans.  In fact I would think blackouts hurt drawing fans, because lack of games on TV would I think reduce the # of fans of the team locally, that then may start to go to games.


If the teams getting games blacked out did not get a share of the TV revenue for that week, you would hear the owners complain about it.  But unlike college where the team wants on TV no matter what, the TV revenue is split, so no penalty for not drawing, other than lost ticket revenue for that owner.


But, I do not think that the FCC should be involved with telling a corporation what games they must broadcast.

playemball
playemball

The only way to hurt the NFL is to kick em where it hurts..boycott the games..a friend of mine went..took his family..spent a fortune for one game..I sat home and watched the game on tv with mine..btw, they lost.  He said never again with the tix..parking and food prices..lol

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

I last attended an NFL game more than 25 years ago.  Even then, ticket prices, parking, and concessions were outrageous ($10 for large fries -- in the mid-1980s!).  I haven't been since, and haven't missed it.


The NFL is in serious danger of outsmarting itself.

Chris8
Chris8

You know what get those large crowds to show up?  Cheaper prices.  I've never been to an NFL game, and every time I consider it ("Oh my god, you have to go to Lambeau before you die!!" But do I?  Really?) I think about how much it would cost.  Or I can stay home, watch the game for free as I choose, and not have to worry about a bunch of drunk slobs to boot.  


Last sporting event I went to?  A $1 college women's hockey game for charity.  The place was absolutely packed and it was an amazing atmosphere.  Sure didn't require a billion dollar stadium either.

Father_Ahab
Father_Ahab

The "marketplace changes" aren't just the owners pushing their weight around. 


I live 4+ hours from Cincinnati, much too far away to go to a baseball game on any given day, but the games were blacked out on my MLBTV package because of Comcast's proprietary rights (Pittsburgh and Atlanta games are also blacked out). I don't want to pay for a ton of crappy cable channels. I want to watch games when I want to watch them, and I'm willing to pay for just the games. Ridiculous.

EJ1
EJ1

Good for the FCC.  Now follow through.

Cool
Cool

If the Super Bowl doesn't sell out, does the entire nation get blacked out, or just the city of the team named as the "home team?"

Matthew W
Matthew W

End the publically funded stadium gravy train. 


These $1 billion stadiums built every year are the palaces for team owners to enrich themselves at our expense. They have no liability and collect all the profit. The City cannot charge property tax on them for a $1 billion property as the public owns the grounds. We're stuck paying for it even if we don't go. This system of the NFL being a "non-profit" is a perverse joke.

cmu92alumni
cmu92alumni

The NFL opposes anything that would improve the fans' enjoyment of the game.

A M
A M

Better yet, DON'T BUY tickets and save your money for better entertainment.

bskott
bskott

Non-profit status (which they shouldn't have anyway), or blackouts. Pick one.

Thomas9
Thomas9

You mean from now on I'll have to watch the Raiders whether they sell out or not, instead of that game being blacked out and getting to watch an actual professional team play?  Damn.

David508
David508

The NFL's greed is completely out of control. They threaten to leave NFL cities who don't contribute significantly so they can build their billion dollar stadiums. It is nothing but extortion at its best. We, the taxpayers pay for these outrageous stadiums and then we get blacked out if they don't sell out. The other outrage is they are listed as a non-profit organization and they pay no taxes. Give me a break. Time for the fans to vote with their wallets and give them a scare. If we don't it will get worse. The NFL is crooked.

Fifilo
Fifilo

The NFL exists for only one reason, from the big tax payer funded stadiums to the tiniest little log on a shoe.

RichardCHamilton
RichardCHamilton

"important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell ticket."

Follow the money baby, follow the money.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

What the NFL does not understand is why should I go through 4 hour traffic, pay $100 (not including beer.), and brave the cold, when I can sit on my butt on my nice couch and watch Redzone.

CMassrey
CMassrey

If a local game is blacked out, can you just go to a local bar with NFL Ticket to watch?  Or would that be blacked out too?

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

If the NFL wants to continue the blackout rule then they need to regulate the ticket prices the teams can charge.  They need to come way down.  It's basically impossible for a family of 4 to go to a 3 hour game for less than they would pay to go on a 3 day vacation.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

hey anyone remember the start of the 3rd quarter between chiefs and redskins, lot of people left saying i can watch a better game at home then this garbage

Friggenwacko
Friggenwacko

The NFL raises ticket prices bi-annually and claim they're not a monopoly because they are simply another form of entertainment.  So why give them an unfair advantage over other forms of entertainment  by almost forcing fans to buy a ticket to see a product the fan's tax dollars almost always  subsidize.

dei1c3
dei1c3

Blackouts don't have any significant affect on stadium attendance.  I have been a football fan for over 4 decades and I have lived in 18 of the current 32 NFL markets and I have never heard a single fan say "Oh, the game is blacked out?  I better go buy a ticket."  They are purely to punish fans in markets where they don't choose to go see the game (never mind that games are overpriced and watching an NFL game on TV is almost always a better experience than going to the stadium).

Stewart3
Stewart3

cowboys and redskins maybe just maybe have a case as the owners built the stadiums.  all the others are publicly funded and screw  the league on those

Keith100
Keith100

The irony here is that the NFL is crying about how they want fans to come to the games yet Roger Goodell has done his best to alienate fans from showing up. Forget prices. He has sold Super Bowl seats that didn't exist and blew off those who lost out, moved games over to Europe and left those team's fans with one less home game, shoved low-quality weeknight games down our throats, looked for ways to make games go on longer and starting them later in order to sell commercial time, and now the New York Super Bowl fiasco where he figures a few cases of frostbite are less important than his ego. Please NFL, don't cry you want fans to show up when you are working awfully hard to dissuade them from even getting in the car.

horsley1953
horsley1953

Why would they oppose it? Virtually every owner now spends thousands of dollars buying their own tickets to prevent blackouts. Wouldn't they rather not spend that money?

DaM
DaM

@KennethB.Jacobs And the higher player salaries get the higher ticket prices will go.  Look at recent contracts at QB. Joe Flacco, 6yr/120.6M, Aaron Rodgers, 5yr/110M, Drew Brees 5yr/100M and others.  In each instance above the yearly amount is 20M/yr.  So what is next?  Is there going to soon be a player worth 30M a year?  Andrew Luck is in his rookie contract and leading Indianapolis to the playoffs for his second consecutive season when most thought with the departure of Peyton Manning, key receiver,s offensive linemen and other players, the Colts would undergo a year or so of rebuilding, even with a high caliber QB such as Luck.  What will Indianapolis Colts' owners Jim and Robert Irsay offer him once his rookie contract expires, especially if he manages to lead the team to an AFC title (not out of the realm of possibility, even this season) or even a Super Bowl title before that contract is finished?

DaM
DaM

@Blinker And there is always the simple fact that with satellite television programming you can watch any game in any city played at any time if you desire.  If the local game is "blacked out" then watch another, maybe a division opponent you will be seeing twice that season?

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

@playemballI go once/yr to see the Steelers with my brother when I go up to visit family.  I had season tickets for a while with the Falcons (live in ATL area now).  The season tickets for the falcons have over doubled in price from when I had them.  I like going to 1 game/year - live is great, but definitely expensive.  Season Tix for many colleges are more expensive than the pros (those NFL teams without seat licenses).

TheDistrict
TheDistrict

@Matthew W Thank you...I'm pretty sure the Washington DC Football Team will look to move back to DC in the near future. Because, you know. FedEx is the oldest stadium in the NFC East. 

Jonathan T
Jonathan T

@CMassreyLocal games are already blacked out on Sunday ticket for that teams viewing area.  


DaM
DaM

@Friggenwacko And how many other "forms of entertainment" are listed as a non-profit organization and exempted from taxes?  I cannot think of too many here

LoriSandoval
LoriSandoval

@dei1c3You've hit the nail on the head.  I live in the SF Bay Area and whenever the Raiders are blacked out I can at least count on seeing a competitive game in their place.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@AlistairMcDougal But no politician in a state where there is an NFL franchise will ever vote to change anything.  He/She would be pilloried and would, as the saying goes, not be able to get elected dog catcher.'

TheDistrict
TheDistrict

@Keith100 Um...you really think people will get frostbite? I mean...people kind of go to football in the cold. 

jofish
jofish

@Keith100I agree with 95% of what you're saying... except for the cold weather Super Bowl.  I am completely in favor of having it sometimes be in an area with the possibility of unfavorable -specifically cold and/or snowy - weather.