NAB President David Rehr warned the new NFL commissioner Monday that the league could face lawsuits if it does not reverse its ban on local-station footage of its football games.
Last year, the league voted to limit sideline coverage to rightsholders and NFL Films. The move angered journalists concerned about a ban on reporting, and from stations who use the footage for local newscasts and wrap-up shows. "The change, which affect only local television broadcasters and not newspaper or Internet reporters, severely limits the ability of local broadcasters to provide unique and extensive coverage of NFL games."
Saying the ban could "seriously tarnish" the 50-year relationship between the NFL and broadcasters, Rehr spelled out the potential negative consequences to the league of the ban. "Without the opportunity to shoot their own video, local broadcasters will scale back coverage of NFL games, and may be forced to cancel shows dedicated to local NFL teams," Rehr warned.
"Considering that many NFL stadiums are taxpayer funded, the ban may run afoul of laws requiring reasonable and equal access at otherwise public forums," he said.
Rehr called for a meeting between the two on the subject "as soon as possible."