NFL Blinks on Blackouts

I have previously criticized the National Football League (NFL) for punishing fans by preventing games from being shown in teams’ local markets unless they are sold out. According to recent reports, the NFL has relaxed these restrictions to allow team owners the option to locally broadcast games even when they are not sold out. In today’s difficult economy and with the cost of attending out of reach of many fans, this new policy will allow fans to watch and root for the home team even when they cannot be there in person.

This is a step in the right direction, but more should be done. I believe that the NFL and other professional sports leagues, as well as networks and cable and satellite companies, must re-examine their programming policies to be sure they are in fans’ best interest. That is why I, along with other senators, have written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to highlight the unfair and abusive practices that sports fans are subjected to and to urge the FCC to address these problems.