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Bridget Johnson


December 18, 2013 - 2:36 pm

The Federal Communications Commission decided by unanimous vote to consider a proposal to eliminate 40-year-old sports blackout rules that prohibit cable and satellite providers from carrying a game if it is blacked out on television due to insufficient ticket sales.

No one was happier than Senate sports fans, who took did an end zone dance and took credit for nudging the FCC in this direction.

“The FCC’s unanimous vote today is a big victory for sports fans,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “This June, Senator Blumenthal and I sent a letter to FCC Acting Chair Clyburn, urging the Commission to move to eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule, which is no longer supported by facts or logic.”

“For years I have worked to reform the regulatory framework that favors the interests of cable and television programming companies and the leagues over those of sports fans and cable consumers,” McCain added. “There is much more work to be done, but the FCC’s vote today moves us one step closer to the finish line.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called the vote a “tremendously positive step forward for consumers and sports fans.”

“Existing blackout policies quite literally leave fans in the dark, and leagues or programmers that enforce them should not be rewarded with special regulatory status, antitrust exemptions, or taxpayer subsidies,” he said.

“To combat this abuse, Senator McCain and I introduced the FANS Act and the Television Consumer Freedom Act. Fans deserve a level playing field that gives them fair access to their favorite teams.”

Their bill aimed to decrease the frequency of sports blackouts by requiring leagues to meet basic obligations to fans if they wish to continue receiving substantial benefits from the public.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (5)
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Why Kap photo?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why am I subsidizing a privately held, for profit professional sport consortium populated by players who can't read or write, and who have a high incidence of criminal behavior on and off field?

And that is NCAA football. We haven't even touched on professional football yet.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why do you assume that NFL players can't read or write or have a high incidence of criminal behavior on and off the field? If I had to guess, it's because the NFL is majority Black and those qualifiers are typically attributed to Blacks by misguided conservatives. Discarding the dubious scenario that a player has committed a crime on the field, NFL players are both educated and less likely to commit crimes. Obviously, most if not all NFL players graduated from an NCAA-sanctioned school with more than a modicum of attention given to academic development. Naturally, the graduates aren't laureates but it's not bad for just playing a sport to get a college education. Moreover, NFL players are arrested at lower rates per 1,000 than American men in general.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you a retired NFL interior lineman?

Or are you still playing college ball?

My sarcastic jab has morphed into irrefutable fact, thanks to you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So what did I do to get inflicted with Lions, Browns and Bengals games.

Actually I think those teams sell out all time, so I get them anyways.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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