Michigan Broadcasters Fight Sideline Ban

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The Michigan Association of Broadcasters has added its voice to the growing chorus opposing the NFL's ban on sideline video cameras from local TV stations.

MAB, one of the largest associations representing over 300 radio and TV stations, sent a letter to the owner of the Detroit Lions NFL team, called on the NFL to reverse the ban, and contacted the governor and Detroit legislators asking them for help.

“For more than 40 years, local television stations have helped build a relationship between pro football teams and their viewers,” said Karole White, MAB President, in a statement.  “The move to ban local TV crews from game coverage will deny viewers the unique local coverage of NFL games they’ve come to expect.”

In the letter to Lions owner William Clay Ford, MAB pointed out that taxpayers had helped finance the stadium and played the "community service" card, saying that the ban would "impede local broadcasters' mandate to serve their community.

The National Association of Broadcasters, Radio-Television News Directors Association and Society of Professional Journalists have also come out strongly against the ban.The NFL told the National Press Photographers Association the move, unamimously agreed-to by the owners, is to protect exclusive NFL video from unauthorized use on the Internet. The league, however, is notoriously tight-fisted about controlling its image and limiting the sources of video, which also allows it to control post-game interviews and any antics during games. --Allison Romano contributed to this report.

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