Today’s move likely marked the last gasp for a rule in place since 1975 for major sports teams that the FCC itself abolished last year. It requires local broadcast stations to black out a game if a team didn’t sell a certain percentage of tickets to the game at least 72 hours prior to kickoff/tipoff/faceoff/first pitch. But now massive TV deals dwarf the cash to be gained by making sure a couple hundred extra ducats get sold. Last year, the NFL didn’t black out any games, and it only did it twice the year before. The league said it will re-evaluate the rule after the upcoming season.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello on Twitter:
Even without the FCC rules, the NFL can cut deals that black out certain games if it wishes, making today’s move the equivalent of releasing your fifth-string long-snapper.