Senators Again Push FCC to End NFL Blackouts

Blumenthal wants the FCC to end NFL blackouts. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two senators are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to quickly bring an end to blackouts of National Football League games and other sporting events on local TV stations.  

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., are keeping up their push on the matter, since the comment period for a proposed rule ran out in March.  

"Now that the comment deadline has long passed, we urge the Commission to move forward expeditiously on eliminating the sports blackout rule (SBR). We believe that the rule unfairly harms consumers by insulating the NFL from market realities and punishing fans in cities with large stadiums and declining populations," the senators wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  

"We applaud the FCC's decision to propose elimination of this outdated rule that is no longer supported by facts or logic, and blocks fans from enjoying their favorite teams," the senators wrote.  

Sports blackouts often get the attention of lawmakers when they affect their constituents, particularly when the NFL policy regarding stadium sellouts in home markets is at risk of kicking into effect. That was the case in advance of a Cincinnati Bengals playoff game earlier this year.  

"We ask that you commit to bringing a final order to a vote within the next 60 days," McCain and Blumenthal wrote.