Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin is taking a stand to try to ensure that all football fans in her state can watch their beloved Green Bay Packers play, even if they’re in a separate media market for the NFL.
Baldwin’s proposal would fix a dilemma faced by sports fans in 13 border counties in Wisconsin. The approximately 400,000 Wisconsinites in these counties are assigned to the Minnesota TV market, meaning that Minnesota Vikings games are broadcast rather than Packers games when the teams play at the same time.
“Every Packers fan across our state should be able to watch every Packers game,” said Baldwin in a statement. “My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to receive in-state broadcasts, so they can cheer on our beloved green and gold.”
As an added bonus, the Vikings are among the Packers’ most hated rivals.
Under the proposal, cable and satellite providers would have to provide Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market. The Packers voiced their support in 2018 for a similar measure introduced by Baldwin. In 2018 the bill was introduced, but never taken up in committee.
The proposal wouldn’t just be for NFL games. It would allow cable and satellite subscribers in the affected countries to choose to receive in-state broadcasts including local news, weather and sports.
Baldwin isn’t the only senator riled up about missing sports games. Earlier this year, Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced a measure (S 1748) that would require the elimination of an NFL policy that provides for blackouts of home games in the local markets of teams when their stadiums are not sold out.
When cable distributors and satellite operators get into contract disputes with broadcasters, sports events can be pulled off the air. The Connecticut Democrat’s bill also would require home games to be streamed online when they are otherwise unavailable through traditional television. The leagues would be able to charge fees for the service.
Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.