FCC Commissioner supports repeal of NFL's TV blackout rules

By Taylor Ellis ,

One of five Federal Communications Commission commissioners said in Buffalo on Tuesday that it is time to repeal the NFL television blackout rules for cable and satellite providers.

Ajut Pai, a FCC commissioner, said that the FCC needs to “be on the side of sports fans” according to the Star Tribune.

As the rules currently stand, games not sold out can be prevented from being broadcast in the home team’s market. This was almost a big problem for Buffalo Bills fans last season. Former Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. bought out the remaining tickets for two home games last year against the Bengals and the Jets to avoid a television blackout.

The Bills versus Dolphins game on Dec. 22, 2013 was blacked out.

"I hope my comments today will kick-start a conversation about it, because I think especially with the NFL season looming, the last thing we want is for NFL fans to be kept in the dark hope during another exciting season," Pai told WBEN during a Buffalo appearance.

The current policy was enacted in 1975, but has been amended as of late to reduce the minimum sales requirement to as few as 85 percent.

If three out of the five FCC commissioners approve the NFL will still be able to have contracts requiring games on basic over-the-air television be blacked out when the game is not sold out in a local market, according to Syracuse.com.

The NFL is concerned that taking away the blackout rule could reduce ticket sales across the league.



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