Sports Blackout Rule Dropped by FCC

Regulators step back from the corporate enforcers role.


The Federal Communications Commission has made it easier for sports fans to watch their favorite teams.

In a unanimous 5-0 decision Tuesday, the FCC voted to repeal its sports blackout policy originally instituted in 1975, which reinforced an NFL policy of blocking television channels from airing games that didn't sell out.

The original purpose of the rule was to ensure that live television broadcasts didn't damage ticket sales. However, the FCC concluded that sports teams, in particular the NFL, can sell out their stadiums without these protections.