Sports Leagues Lobby On White Spaces Issue


Representatives from seven major sports leagues are visiting Washington Tuesday to meet with the FCC and members of Congress to stress the potentially negative consequences of proposed legislation that would fill the "white spaces" within current broadcast spectrum with new, unlicensed wireless services.

Broadcasters, including the spectrum watchdog Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV),

have already warned

that allowing unlicensed services, such as wireless broadband aimed at laptops and mobile devices, within the broadcast band could disrupt the reception of digital television signals and disrupt their coverage of live events.. 

Sports leagues are weighing in on the issue, saying that interference from devices operating in the "white spaces" could knock out microphones used for live event coverage and also disrupt headsets used by coaches and game officials.

The contingent of sports leagues, known as the Sports Technology Alliance and organized by advocacy organization Sports Video Group, comprises Major League Baseball (MLB), NASCAR, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the NCAA, the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL) and The PGA TOUR, as well as league representatives from DirecTV and ESPN. 

The visiting leagues are splitting into two groups to conduct alternating morning and afternoon visits with the FCC and with members of the Senate and House of Representatives, in which they will urge the FCC and Congress not to permit the operation of new portable unlicensed devices in the "white spaces."

The Alliance will also ask the FCC to designate certain spectrum for professional wireless microphone use and adopt new methods to prevent interference at large sporting events.