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No local TV for Bills game against Dolphins

Rochester Business Journal
December 19, 2013

The Buffalo Bills’ home game Sunday against Miami did not sell out as of noon Thursday and will be blacked out on local television.

Some 15,000 tickets were unsold at the blackout deadline, Bills officials said.

If the Federal Communications Commission has its way, however, the National Football League’s blackout policy will end. The FCC this week proposed ending its blackout rules, citing changes in the sports industry that may make blackouts unnecessary.

“The sports blackout rules were originally adopted nearly 40 years ago when game ticket sales were the main source of revenue for sports leagues,” an FCC document states. The rules were in response to multichannel video programming distributors importing out-of-market signals from stations carrying a blacked-out game, which could reduce ticket sales and result in sports leagues refusing to sell their rights to games to distant stations.

The FCC will solicit comments on its proposal to determine whether blackout rules have become outdated, and whether modification or elimination of the rules is appropriate, the document states.

NFL team owners decided prior to this season to allow teams to lift blackout restrictions if 85 percent of the tickets for a home game were sold. The Bills decided to continue with the 100 percent mandate.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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