How We Beat the NFL

The NFL has done some greedy and selfish things over the years. But one of the worst has got to be sticking by its harmful blackout rules well into the 21st century.

You know what we're talking about.

For decades, local fans couldn't watch their teams play if a home game wasn't sold out ... three whole days before kickoff. It didn't matter if you couldn't afford a ticket or, like one Vietnam vet we heard from, had a disability that stopped you from attending the games. Your Sunday was spent counting down the hours to 60 Minutes.

We thought that was ridiculous (because, uh, it was). So we did something about it.

In 2011, Sports Fans Coalition petitioned the Federal Communications Commission, the government agency that regulates broadcast and cable TV, to end its support of blackout rules. Yes, you read that right: The government actually required TV providers to support NFL blackouts.

Well, our petition to end that rule hit a nerve with ticked-off fans:

The [FCC] has received about 140 comments, and an overwhelming majority favors the petition. That doesn't count nearly 3,000 (comments) the Sports Fans Coalition also sent in from people clicking an email on the group's website urging that the rule be repealed.

In other words, you, the fans, stepped up. And together, we did everything we could to shed light on the NFL's rules. Members of the Sports Fans Coalition board met with FCC commissioners to explain to them the need to get rid of this archaic rule.

Then, finally, victory: In September 2014, the FCC unanimously dumped its blackout rules.

Even better: In 2015, probably because they saw the writing on the wall, the NFL announced that it would suspend its own blackout rules. And then did so again for the upcoming 2016 season.

Bottom line: The NFL still needs to permanently nix its blackout rules. But for the past two years, there hasn't been a single blacked out football game. Our fight shows a group of fans working together can do anything--even overcome owners' desire to line their pocketbooks.

There's still a chance to make your voice heard. Tell the NFL: Don't just suspend your blackout rules. Get rid of them for good!

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  • published this page in Blog 2016-04-28 09:17:31 -0400