The NFL claims that the blackout rule is vital to preserving strong home attendance and the business itself.
The NFL said in its filing Monday night that the sports blackout rule “supports contractual provisions that are fundamental to broadcast television and thereby enable universal distribution of high quality content, including NFL football, to all Americans and to our fans — all at no cost to those fans.”
“Sports blackout policies, supported by the FCC’s sports blackout rule, promote live attendance and thus improve the stadium experience,” the league said.
Opponents of the blackout rule maintain that taxpayer money was used to build virtually every stadium in the NFL and therefore taxpayers should be able to see every game on television.
Personally, I can see both sides of this argument. As a Bills fan who lives in the blackout zone, I’d love to see this rule end. (It’s ridiculous that Syracuse – 150+ miles from Orchard Park – is in the blackout zone, but that’s another story.)
But the NFL is right to be scared of losing the blackout rule. I think some NFL stadiums would be very empty on game days. Not because the NFL isn’t popular – quite the opposite – but because the NFL is awesome on television. Why would I drop a hundred bucks to go sit on the cold bleachers at Ralph Wilson Stadium when I can sit in my warm house with Sunday Ticket and the internet for free? It’s a problem the NFL is going to have to combat in the years to come.