The FCC calls a penalty on sports blackout rules

The FCC made its stand against sports blackout rules yesterday, voting unanimously to eliminate the controversial mandates. Ruling 5-0 against the blackouts, the FCC stated that the regulations were outdated and unnecessary given the money leagues receive from TV revenue. “The Order finds that the Commission’s sports blackout rules are no longer justified in light of the significant changes in the sports industry since these rules were first adopted nearly forty years ago,” the FCC said in the decision. “At that time, ticket sales were the primary source of revenue for the NFL and most NFL games failed to sell out. Today, television revenues have replaced ticket sales as the NFL’s main source of revenue, and blackouts of NFL games are increasingly rare. The NFL is the most profitable sports league in the country, with $6 billion in television revenue per year, and only two games were blacked out last season.”

Of course, the ruling won’t actually end blackouts, which are written into the NFL’s private contracts with broadcast and cable companies, although it means that the government is now out of the practice. The NFL released its own statement on the matter, according to NBC Sports, writing: “NFL teams have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts. The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television. The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”

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