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The NFL BLACKOUT Rule has Ended, or Has it?

The NFL BLACKOUT Rule has Ended, or Has it?

Fans rejoiced, while the league said it was the terrible news. When the FCC released their decision to end the forty year old NFL imposed Blackout Rule, it was met with mixed emotions.

Fans obviously loved it because it meant local viewers should be able to watch their favorite local teams play home games in the comfort of their own homes. The NFL on the other hand hates it because they feel it will cut down on revenues generated by local fans purchasing tickets to home games.

According to this old rule, if a game was not sold out in the 72 hours prior to gameday, the league could black out the game for local viewers. This has always been something that fans have hated with a passion, and for good reason. The NFL sees it as a valid way to increase revenues for the teams and league overall.

The rule change was done in part because the FCC feels that the league no longer relies on gate fees for the majority of their revenues. Merchandising has taken over as the cash cow of the NFL with team mascots emblazoned on nearly any item you could think of.

Two things will stop the lifting of the blackouts to continue, and neither one of them involve the federal government. This is something that the FCC wanted to be made very clear once their decision was made and the ruling came down.

The first is that local stations may continue to honor the agreements and deals they currently have in place with the NFL concerning blacking out local teams during certain games. This could remain in play even after new contracts are negotiated with the NFL and local teams, or it could end tomorrow, that is yet to be seen.

The second possibility is that the NFL will start to transition all of their games from network TV, over to subscription based services or strictly through cable and satellite programming providers such as DISH, DIRECTV, and COMCAST. This would ensure for them an increase in revenue, since no one would able to watch their games for free as we have in the past on network TV.

We will have to wait and see how this situation plays out over the coming months. Will blackouts continue or will they become a thing of the past, something that will be looked back upon in the future by fans as a black mark on the history of broadcast sports.

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