NFL suspends league’s TV blackout policy for 2015 season
There will be no blackouts in the 2015 NFL season, the NFL announced Monday.
NFL clubs voted for a one-year suspension of the long-standing blackout policy for the 2015 pre- and regular seasons. The league will evaluate the impact of the suspension after the season.
NFL teams have successfully made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts. There were no regular-season blackouts last season and only two in 2013.
The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games in local markets on free, over-the-air television.
The proposal to suspend the policy came from the Finance and Broadcast committees.
The policy stipulated that for a home game to be aired locally in the local market the game must be sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff.
In September 2014, the FCC repealed its sport blackout rules, which prohibited cable and satellite operators from importing into a local market the signal of a distant broadcast station carrying a sporting event if that event was not available live on an in-market local broadcast station.
The order eliminated FCC reinforcement of the league’s blackout policy, but it did not affect the league’s ability to maintain and enforce the blackout policy through contractual arrangements with programming distributors.
In addition, the NFL announced the Bills-Jaguars game on Oct. 25 in London will be first in league history shown on digital platform worldwide.