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The FCC Officially Voted to End the NFL Blackout Rule

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously today in favor of ending the NFL blackout rule so that fans can watch football games even if they haven’t sold out.

The blackout rule, established in the 1970s, means that if an NFL game is not completely sold out, then the game is blacked out from broadcast and fans don’t get to watch it on TV. As Mediaite’s own Joe Concha put it earlier this year, “Considering many of these stadiums were built on the backs of taxpayers, not allowing them to watch their team because they’re not reaching deeper into their wallets is (for lack of a better term)…rich.”

The FCC took action to finally gut the blackout rule weeks after Commissioner Tom Wheeler wrote a column arguing it’s time for the policy to go. At the time, he couldn’t help but find it odd that the NFL would complain about a game being broadcast as a “money-losing proposition.”

The FCC’s press release today announcing the decision makes it clear the NFL may continue private blackouts, but they won’t be able to rely on government protection any more.

[h/t THR]
[image via Shutterstock]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

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