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Bills-stadium_jpg-300x199Good news for football fans – sort of. The Federal Communications Commission has proposed lifting blackout rules. This is what the acting chairwoman said:

“Changes in the marketplace have raised questions about whether these rules are still in the public interest, particularly at a time when high ticket prices and the economy make it difficult for many sports fans to attend games. Elimination of our sports blackout rules will not prevent the sports leagues, broadcasters, and cable and satellite providers from privately negotiating agreements to black out certain sports events.

“Nevertheless, if the record in this proceeding shows that the rules are no longer justified, the Commission’s involvement in this area should end.”

It’s a step in the right direction, but there could still be blackouts. And the rule won’t be changed overnight, as the FCC needs to gather public input. The Buffalo News reports:

Nevertheless, the FCC’s proposed change will put pressure on the NFL to abandon its blackout policy, said Matt Sabuda, president of the Buffalo Fan Alliance and the leading local figure in the effort to get the NFL to ease its television blackout policy.

“This is probably the tipping point to get the NFL to get rid of its blackout rule altogether,” Sabuda said.


Both the FCC rule and the NFL’s version have been under assault, though, from Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and other lawmakers.

“Blackout rules are unfair, outdated and alienate dedicated fans,” Higgins said…

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., teamed with Higgins last year to press the NFL to ease its blackout policy. And this year, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced legislation that would decimate the NFL’s blackout policy by requiring all home games that are played in publicly financed stadiums to be televised.

Taxpayers will shell out $226 million over the next decade to keep the Bills in Buffalo, even though there are dubious economic benefits.

Note to readers: Yes, I’ve been posting a lot less. I have been directing much of my attention to my new job anchoring News 8 First at 4. The effort it takes to post daily, as I used to do, is enormous. The monetary benefit is negligible. However, I’m proud of The Rochesterian and this format. Thank you for your continuing interest. You can find much of the content I post in Links of the Day on my Twitter feed.


Links of the Day:


– The probe of local development corporations is focusing a transfer of a contract.

– Casinos will likely not lower our taxes. Empire Center explains why the hype is much ado about nothing.

– I reported on an 11-year-old boy who was shot while walking to the store on Sunday morning. Please read this and think about how some children and families are forced to live.

– Senator Charles Schumer’s latest fight is to keep an orphaned polar bear cub in Buffalo.

Schumer likes posing with booze and food.

– There was Sibley’s, McCurdy’sand Edwards.

I think we’ve all felt this way about bathroom attendants.

8 Responses to Blackouts’ Days Numbered

  1. November 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm James Simons responds:

    Even if you ignore the basic moral argument that a blackout of games for a team that uses a publicly funded stadium, there is an argument that blackouts hurt NFL teams.

    In order to grow the sport you need to keep injecting young and new fans. The majority of these fans are going to come through watching games on television. While the big-market teams and perennial favorite franchises won’t have any trouble attracting fans, teams like Buffalo lose out on visibility with blackouts. Regardless if they are local, if a young kid can never watch a team because their games are blacked out, they will become fans of teams they do see. You are limiting your exposure and brand recognition. It makes no sense.

  2. November 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm dew4794 responds:

    This is just shiznick. The blackout rule was made when the NFL made their money through fan attendance at games. NOW the huge revenue is made through the media, tv, cable and not fan attendance. Dropping blackouts just means more revenue for the NFL profits. Public interest? NOT.

  3. November 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    nice to see Rachel blogging again. the casino hustle. let us remember casinos exist to make profit for the owners, they do not care about education or property tax relief, because the casinos get tax abetments it is how local and state government say thank you for robbing us blind.

    will the casinos end up like OTB so corrupt they had to be shut down?

    • November 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm dew4794 responds:

      Agree. CRIME. Interesting enough the FBI just came out recently with a
      report on which states in the US have the HIGHEST CRIME per capita. Not New York nor California. Surprise Tennessee is number one. Second most dangerous state NEVADA, robberies, burglaries, auto thief, bank robberies. And guess maybe the connection: Elvis impersonators and wedding chapels? What other possible connections to crime could there be? lol Oh, and guess who pays for all that crime? Give up? The tax payers.

  4. November 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm Patrick Chefalo responds:

    I discourage reporters from using Koch Industry-linked opinions as evidence of anything except the pervasive anti-government schemes of the super-wealthy. The “Empire Center” is linked to the Manhattan Institute.


    “The Manhattan Institute received over $31 million in grants from 1985 to 2012, from foundations such as the Koch Family Foundations, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, the Scaife Foundations, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.[13] The Manhattan Institute does not disclose its corporate funding, but the Capital Research Center listed its contributors as Bristol-Myers Squibb, ExxonMobil, Chase Manhattan, Cigna, Sprint Nextel, Reliant Energy, Lincoln Financial Group Foundation, and Merrill Lynch. Throughout the 1990s the Tobacco industry was a major funding source for the institute. [14]”

    • November 3, 2013 at 11:35 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      But what did they write that’s objectionable about this topic?

      • November 4, 2013 at 6:28 am Patrick Chefalo responds:

        So here’s the problem with the Koch “think tanks”, Rachel.

        IMO: The overall objective of the Koch-funded institutes is to undermine the confidence of the public in government, in any way, in any form. Another example of that is seen at this link:


        Ostensibly this is a news story, but the “problem” described there is non-existent. The fact that property values in Rochester and Monroe County have not hyper-inflated is a plus for the area, not a bad thing for the residents. Since the cost of services is the cost of services, that makes the ratio high, but the actual taxes are lower than in most areas. Pointing out the math doesn’t make anyone happy, but it serves the Koch’s purposes. (Spector seems to fall into the trap consistently; I think he’s lazy or …. see below.)

        In the article you cite, the Institute’s beef is not about gambling as it really doesn’t care; their article is about fracking. The gambling gambit is to get their opinions in the press again, and to deride officials who support controversial subjects.

        Journalists should always “consider the source” of their quotes. (I know you know that.) But those who use paid-for think tanks as sources may find themselves considered as flacks, and paid-for as well, by the same sources of funding as the institutes.

        As for the gambling; I think the officials are giving the investors a chance to fail: if the plan is over-ambitious, as I think it is, it will loosen the purses of investors to build out the casinos, and then they will fail, although at some cost to individuals who pursue the former vice. The arguments that the impact will be “only” slightly positive ignore the fact that each change is only slightly positive in and of itself.

        As long as the casinos don’t destroy historic infrastructure, directly or indirectly, I am indifferent.

  5. Nice story about Edwards! Thanks for sharing it!

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