Bloomberg News reports:
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday will vote on whether to eliminate a decades-old rule that has prohibited pay-TV providers from airing some home sports games, such as NFL football games, if the tickets to those games did not sell out.
Four of five FCC commissioners, including Chairman Tom Wheeler, have publicly indicated support for ending the policy, which is known as a sports blackout rule and is backed by the broadcasters and the National Football League.
Only two NFL games, or less than 1 percent, were blacked out as a result of the rule last season and none so far this year, according to the NFL. In several instances, some businesses helped avoid blackouts by buying blocks of unsold tickets.
“The sports blackout rules are a bad hangover from the days when barely 40 percent of games sold out and gate receipts were the league’s principal source of revenue,” Wheeler wrote in a recent newspaper opinion piece, saying the policy hurt fans.
“The NFL no longer needs the government’s help to remain viable,” Wheeler wrote in USA Today on Sept. 9.