The Federal Communications Commission took the first step today toward elimination of local TV station blackouts of professional football games and other sporting events. The commission asked for public comment on eliminating its own rules that support sports league policies by requiring that games must be sold out 72 hours before kickoff before local stations can broadcast the competition. Cable and satellite operators are also barred from carrying games on out-of-town channels that are out by local stations. Consumer groups and others petitioned the commission to eliminate the rules because they limit access to local sporting events “particularly with ticket prices and unemployment at their current high levels.” The NFL said it opposed any change in the rules. Comments should be submitted by February 13.
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