Senate Judiciary Eyeing Sports Hearing: Sources

Industry sources said Friday that the Senate Judiciary Committee was looking to hold a hearing this week on sports programming -- Thursday, Nov. 20, is one possible date -- while the Democrats still control the gavel.

Among possible witnesses, said one source, are an FCC commissioner, a representative from the NFL, and David Goodfriend, chairman of Sports Fans Coalition, which was instrumental in getting the FCC to eliminate its sports blackout rules

Judiciary Committee member Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), for one, teamed with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to push for lifting the blackout rules, and has otherwise been a vocal critic of giving "special breaks" like antitrust exemptions and other subsidies to sports leagues.

Issues could include sports programming, antitrust exemption, and impact of sports rights costs on cable rates.

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.