NFL to Scrap Blackout Policy for 2015 Season - Broadcasting & Cable

NFL to Scrap Blackout Policy for 2015 Season

Owners voted on one-year suspension Monday morning
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The NFL will suspend its TV blackout policy for the 2015 season.

The league’s 32 owners voted on the decision Monday morning during the annual owners’ meetings in Phoenix. League spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted out the news shortly after the vote: "NFL clubs have approved suspension of local blackout policy for 2015 pre- and regular seasons. There were 0 BOs last reg-season."

The policy, which blacked out games of that team’s local market if it did not reach a sellout, will be suspended for the preseason as well. The league will evaluate the impact of the suspension, noting there were no blackouts during the 2014 season; the 2013 season saw two blackouts. Last September, the FCC unanimously voted to get rid of its so-called sports blackout rules.

The blackout policy has been in place since the early 1970s, when NFL teams relied primarily on ticket sales to generate revenue.

Separately, the league said on Monday that it would air the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game from London on Oct. 26 worldwide on a digital platform; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during his Super Bowl press conference that the league would "aggresively pursue" streaming of a regular season game. The game, which will not be available on DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket package, will still air on TV in the two local markets.

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