December 5, 2014

Senators from both US political parties warned the NFL yesterday (December 4th) to get rid of the TV “blackout” rule or risk congressional action to restrict the league’s antitrust exemption, which allows teams to negotiate radio and TV broadcast rights together.

NFL blackout The lawmakers said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the four-decade-old blackout rule, which bans home games from being televised in a local market if they haven’t sold out, is unfair to fans who have helped the NFL make billions from games’ broadcast rights and has outlived its usefulness.

But a lawyer representing the NFL argued that eliminating the blackout rule would actually hurt the fans, saying that without the certainty of full paid attendance provided by the rule, NFL games are likely to start heading from free broadcast TV to pay TV, such as cable and satellite.

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