[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he National Football League (NFL) has decided to reverse its TV blackout policy, which prevented television stations from broadcasting games that weren’t sold out.
The decision came after teams unanimously agreed on a one-year suspension of the blackout policy for the preseason and regular seasons.
NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello posted on Twitter, “NFL clubs have approved suspension of local blackout policy for 2015 pre- and regular seasons.”
“There were 0 BOs [blackouts] last reg-season.”
According to the Daily Mail, sales of the standard minimum number of tickets set by the NFL was achieved last year, so no blackouts had occurred. The year 2013 recorded only two blackouts.
The policy also dictated that tickets for a home game, in order to be qualified for broadcasting, should be sold out 72 hours before the kickoff. However, an exception could be made if the club believes it will be able to meet the required number of ticket sales.
The policy, which the league started implementing in 1973, was eased in 2012. Television stations could show games where 85 percent of tickets were sold.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “The move came as a shock because the league has long resisted calls from politicians and other critics to change the rules.
“The league’s finance and broadcast committee made the proposal to suspend the rule. They will evaluate how the rule change played out during the season and then discuss what they will do next off-season.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), along with the NFL, had been levying the policy for decades. However, in 2014, it cancelled the restrictions imposed on television stations.
Blackouts in other sports – hockey, basketball, and baseball – prevent viewers from watching games on television until they purchase cable TV subscription.
Over the years, the NFL has gained the reputation of being the country’s most lucrative sports league. Ticket prices range from $54.20 to $122.
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