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Sports Fans Coalition Names FCC Its MVP

The Sports Fans Coalition has named all five FCC commissioners as its 2015 MVPs (most valuable policymakers) for their unanimous vote in September 2014 to scrap the FCC's Sports Blackout Rules.

That is according to an invitation to an off-the-record awards ceremony May 21 at, where else, a sports bar in Washington. The commissioners are scheduled to get their awards from previous MVPs Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who pushed for the change from their powerful Hill perches.

The sports blackout rules prevented cable operators and others from providing games to subscribers in markets where the local broadcast was blacked out per league policy — primarily the NFL was at issue.

The rules had been a government backstop to NFL blackout policies, so getting rid of the rules did not end the policies. But the NFL announced in March that it was suspending blackouts for the upcoming season (and likely beyond).

The coalition was instrumental in the rules' demise, and called their elimination a historic day.

“I’m glad the FCC retired its archaic sports blackout rules," said MVP Jessica Rosenworcel.  "They were a vestige of by-gone era and should have been benched a long time ago.  The agency should not support dated policies that prevent fans from watching their hometown teams.”

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.