D.C. Weighs in on FCC Ejection of Sports Blackout Rules

The FCC's unanimous elimination of the sports blackout rules Tuesday (Sept. 30) drew immediate response from Washington players, including the commissioners voting to get rid of them.

Amidst the blitz of football metaphors, the commissioners made serious points about the need to get rid of the rules and stop backstopping the NFL's private contractual decisions.

"Make no mistake about it. With this decision, the FCC is officially out of the sports blackout business. No longer will we be on the side of those willing to keep fans in the dark," said commissioner Ajit Pai. "We are eliminating our blackout rule, but the professional sports leagues like the NFL can still choose to maintain their own blackout policies. But if the NFL in particular chooses that path, it will do so without the FCC’s endorsement and will have to enforce its policy without our help," he said.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.