It could be the beginning of the end of sports blackouts.
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to begin the process of eliminating sports blackout rules that prohibit broadcasting of some events – among them NFL games – if too few tickets are sold. The rules were put in place 40 years ago.
“Changes in the sports industry in the last four decades have called into question whether the sports blackout rules remain necessary to ensure the overall availability of sports telecasts to the public,” according to the FCC’s notice of proposed rule-making.
The FCC will now collect public comment to evaluate whether the rules serve the public, the next step toward potentially taking them off the books. No action is expected until sometime next year.