The Hill and Yahoo!Sports: Fans ask FCC to stop blackouts of sports games

Fans ask FCC to stop blackouts of sports games

The Hill
By Gautham Nagesh
Friday, May 27, 2011

A group representing sports fans is asking the Federal Communications Commission to help prevent games from being blacked out during retransmission disputes between broadcasters and TV providers.

SportsFans.org, a nonprofit that aims to give fans a voice on issues such as public subsidies for stadiums, filed comments with the Commission on Thursday asking the agency to do something to prevent fans from missing games.

The group pointed to several recent incidents such as the dispute between FOX and Cablevision that caused millions of New York area cable subscribers to miss the first two games of the 2010 World Series.

“Sports fans have become a political football in retransmission consent disputes,” the group’s filing states.

“Fans who are vital to the success of sports and who have contributed through multiple public and private expenditures are treated like fumbled pigskins.”

The group wants the FCC to waive the blackout, network nonduplication and syndicated exclusivity rules that prevent two channels from broadcasting the same live sporting event whenever a broadcast signal is taken down due to a retransmission dispute so fans won’t miss any games.

“The Commission has long treated sports programming as distinguishable from other types of programming, whether in the context of special rules, such as the sports blackout rule or merger conditions designed to prevent the anti-competitive hoarding of regional sports networks,” the filing states.

“In this proceeding, the Commission similarly can draw the line at using sports programming as a negotiating tool.”

SportsFans.org was founded in 2009 and features sports writer Dave Zirin and Public Knowledge founder Gigi Sohn on its board of directors. The group has previously pushed for a college football playoffs system and argued against work stoppages for the NFL and other major sports leagues.

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The Hill: Fans ask FCC to stop blackouts of sports games


Group asks FCC to eliminate NFL blackouts

Yahoo!Sports
Saturday, May 28, 2011

A nonprofit organization known as SportsFans.org has asked the FCC to put an end to blackouts of sports broadcasts, including NFL games.

The group asks the FCC to revise or cease retransmission disputes, the kind of thing that led to seven regular-season home games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers not being shown on television in the local market last season.

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Yahoo! Sports: Group asks FCC to eliminate NFL blackouts

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