FCC considers eliminating the FCC Sports Blackout Rules


BoliekThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering an end to the regulatory support of sports league blackouts.  Briefly stated, a blackout generally occurs when a televised program is not broadcast in a specific media market at the request of the rights holder.  The FCC’s 1975 sports blackout rules adds regulator muscle to these private contracts.  When a league (and only a league) has contracted with a broadcaster to abide by the league’s blackout criteria, the FCC rules prevent cable and satellite carriers, which if not restrained by the rules could easily transmit from a market that is not blacked out into a market that is blacked out, from doing so.  What the rule (or its elimination) does not do is prevent leagues and telecasters from continuing to enter into private contracts that include a blackout provision. 

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