It is the unfortunate fate of Ohioans to provide homes to two of the NFL franchises most likely to fail to sell out their stadiums, causing television coverage of home games to be pulled. A state legislator has introduced legislation to halt that practice.
The teams are the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.
According to a report from Fox 19 in Cincinnati, the legislator is Democrat Robert Hagan, who represents neither of those jurisdictions but is instead from Youngstown.
Hagan’s bill would strip an NFL franchise of the right to black out a telecast if it plays in a publicly-funded stadium. If a team does indulge its desire to black out a game, it would be required to pay back all of its public funding.
However, the legislation would come into conflict with the federal regulations of the FCC. Hagan says he fully expects that if passed into law, the legislation would face court challenge.
RBR-TVBR observation: Maybe we’re crazy, but it has always seemed to use that the black-out practice is antiquated and unnecessary in this day and age. We don’t believe people avoid attending a game in person because they can see it on television any more, so it would seem that the end result of a blackout is simply to flush large amounts of advertising revenue down the toilet.
There is another side to this story – my wife is a die-hard fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, born and raised in Steeler territory, and she becomes positively gleeful any time she hears something negative about either of the Ohio teams. So a prolonged series of headlines focusing on the two teams’ inability to sell tickets will bring her nothing but joy.