Sports fans: No 'economic rationale' for blackout rule


"The Commission must be moved to action by the public outcry in this proceeding against sports blackouts and the government policies that enable them," the Sports Fan Coalition, Public Knowledge and the Media Access Project wrote. "Perhaps most compelling are the statements by disabled and elderly fans who are physically unable to attend games in person and therefore rely on television to enjoy the games that they as taxpayers and voters help to finance."

But in a separate filing, the National Association of Broadcasters warned that lifting the blackout rule would lead more games to be shown on cable, rather than free over-the-air television.

"Elimination of the FCC’s sports blackout rules will not force sports leagues to end their blackout policies. But what elimination of the Rules would do is upset a carefully designed and balanced structure that supports America’s unique local broadcasting system and favor pay TV providers at the expense of local stations and their viewers," the broadcasters wrote.

They said that while they "sympathize with sports fans" who are unable to watch their favorite teams, eliminating the rules would "in the long-term, be detrimental to all sports fans."