FCC looks to end football blackout rule

Nov. 2, 2013 at 10:07 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Obama administration officials in Washington say it is time for the federal government to back away from enforcing television blackouts of sporting events.

The Federal Communications Commission said it is moving toward eliminating the agency's role in enforcing the blacking out of games in local markets and would instead leave that up to leagues and local broadcasters.

"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 written statement.

The proposal would open the door to televising NFL games in particular in teams' home markets even if they are not sold out. The Hill reported sports fans and various lawmakers have been urging the FCC to halt its involvement in the enforcement of blackouts.

The Capitol Hill publication said the broadcasting industry expressed concern that local on-air television stations could find themselves forced to black out certain games even though they would be available on cable or satellite in their markets.

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