WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to the FCC's release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the sports blackout rule, the following statement may be attributed to NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton:
"Sports blackouts are exceedingly rare, and NAB dislikes these disruptions as much as our viewers. We're concerned that the FCC proposal may hasten the migration of sports to pay-TV platforms, and will disadvantage the growing number of people who rely on free, over-the-air television as their primary source for sports. Allowing importation of sports programming on pay-TV platforms while denying that same programming to free broadcast-only homes would erode the economic base of local television and hinder broadcasting as an engine for economic growth in local communities."
For background purposes, there has been only one NFL game "blacked out" this year – "less than ½ of 1 percent", according to The Buffalo News. By far, there have been fewer blackouts this year than at any time in history.
It's important to note that according to various reports, the leading lobbyist pushing for this proposal also lobbies for DISH Network. DISH obviously stands to benefit if local TV stations are unable to air sporting events that might be carried instead on a pay TV platform.
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.