The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

NFL Blackout Rules

Posted by brightcoast on August 15, 2009

Though I’m admittedly not much of a sports fan, I have grown accustomed to tuning into the occasional Charger’s game, and even more rarely a Padres game. Today, however, the Charger’s game wasn’t broadcast live due to the NFL blackout rules. Thus, as any bored law student would do, I suppose, I googled what exactly these “blackout rules” were exactly. What I discovered was quite interesting.

Turns out, prior to 1973, in order to ensure ticket sales & attendance, etc. all NFL games were “blacked out” from their home venues, regardless of whether or not they sold out at any point in time. This applied to all games, including the Superbowl. This policy was upheld in court to the extent that Congress actually passed a law requiring a new standard, whereby if the game sold out 72 hours prior to the game, then the blackout would not apply, and the game would be broadcast.

You can read more about the incredibly lucrative NFL rights here (much more extensive then you might think).

As an aside, according to the caricature of OJ on Family Guy, you can’t record an NFL game without the express written consent of the NFL. Leave it to fox cartoons to teach you something.

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One Response to “NFL Blackout Rules”

  1. Russ said

    Here’s some more insight into the origins of the NFL blackout rules…

    http://www.mepreport.com/2009/09/nfl-seeks-to-curb-excessive-popularity/

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