With pressure from the FCC, “The NFL lifted the television blackout rule in place for the 2015 season, the league announced Monday at the NFL owners’ meetings in Arizona,” reports CBSSports.com. The FCC has wanted to scrap the 40 year old sports-blackout rule, which prohibits pay-TV operators from showing NFL or other pro games that are blacked out on local TV outlets due to low ticket sales, for several years.
The story continues, “The Federal Communications Commission previously ceased backing the blackout rule, although the league was still able to enforce it legally. The blackout rule keeps the broadcasts of games off TV in local markets when the home team doesn’t sell enough tickets.”
The league says it will reevaluate its new policy once the season ends.
In the past, TV broadcast rights holders have been restricted by clauses that prohibit them from showing a sporting event if the game is not sold out.
While there have been fewer black outs are due to the NFL softening the definition of a “sellout,” allowing teams to sell only 85 percent of all non-premium tickets in order to lift the local blackout, this new announcement has many TV stations and fans celebrating.
Media buyers and marketers know that live events such as NFL football are TV ratings winners. This new twist should only make those numbers grow.
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