The Sports Fan Coalition has asked the FCC to revisit the rules that allow sports leagues to block television coverage of games that have not sold enough tickets to fill their stadium. It believes there is no justification for denying access to fans that have helped construct stadiums with public funding.
According to Hillicon Valley, SFC’s Brian Frederick brought up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, which has had four games blacked out this year, and said it’s a completely unethical action – given the $168.5M in funding taxpayers kicked in to build the football team’s stadium.
Frederick says there are many things that can be done to fill seats – the most obvious of which is to price the seats to sell. He suggested that if fans are not paying for tickets, perhaps they are priced too high.
SPC believes there is a good chance that the FCC will put the matter up for public comment, the step that would precede any regulatory action on the matter.
RBR-TVBR observation: Is it just us, or do does the blackout strategy seem anachronistic in its entirety? We find it hard to believe there are a large number of people who skip going to the stadium because of television – being there is just such an entirely different experience. Why would anybody in sports want to compound the loss by shutting down advertising revenue?
Further, we all know that there is a great deal of additional revenue to be had with fans in the seats. Once in the stadium, how many of us are strong enough to resist paying through the nose to enhance our enjoyment of the game with a snack and beverage?
Apparently execs in the sports world disagree, but is our belief that if the FCC were to strike down the blackout rule, it would be doing them a favor. And it would certainly be doing a favor to every broadcast station that carries play-by-play sports action.