The NFL blackout rule is largely symbolic these days ? just two games were kept off local airwaves due to the lack of a sellout during the 2013 season.
It?s a controversial measure, however, because taxpayers regularly dole out hundreds of millions in direct and indirect support to construct NFL stadiums that are owned and operated by the teams. You could argue, and the lobbying group Sports Fan Coalition did, that even the guy in his living room is a paying customer these days.
It apparently worked. On Tuesday, the FCC, at last, eliminated the old blackout rule.
While the FCC declared it a ?victory for sports fans,? don?t celebrate too much. The league can still negotiate a private deal with its broadcast partners to keep non-sellouts off the air and the government probably wouldn?t interfere with that (although it could).
Still, this remains a historic moment if only because the government protection of blackouts has been under attack for more than six decades.
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