FCC to vote on NFL blackout rule - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FCC to vote on NFL blackout rule

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Fans across the country may be able to watch their favorite teams on TV every game day, if the Federal Communications Commission votes to lift a rule on sports blackouts Tuesday morning.  As of now, cable and satellite television providers cannot show an NFL game in its home market if it's blacked out on local stations because the game didn't sell out 72 hours before kickoff.

In the past, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the blackout rule was created when barely 40 percent of the games usually sold out.

Wheeler said that is not a problem anymore, citing the league's $10 billion revenue last year, as proof that it's popular enough to get rid of the blackout rule.

Congressman Brian Higgins has been outspoken about getting rid of the rule, calling the 40-year policy outdated and overly broad.

"It is obsolete relative to the economics of professional sports today, particularly the NFL," said Higgins. "And I'm confident that the federal communications commission will vote, and unanimously, to eliminate the federal government's involvement in the blackout rule. And hopefully the teams and the league will follow after that."

Congressman Higgins also said he's confident the league will do the right thing. However, the NFL has not been a fan of getting rid of the rule, saying it's very important to support NFL stadiums and ticket sales. 

Tuesday's vote comes after a public comment period and preliminary vote by the FCC.

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