by Brent Skorup
Mercatus Center
March 05, 2014
Experts view television regulations as a complex system that performs simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. The sports blackout rules, which the Federal communications Commission originally devised in 1975, were designed to protect free over-the-air television, but market circumstances have made the rules obsolete. If sports leagues find it is in their interest to continue local blackouts of games in home markets, they can contract with pay-TV distributors to accomplish that. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the legal authority to repeal the blackout rules, which are particularly unfair to consumers because blackouts ostensibly protect stadium-gate receipts. It is unsupportable that sports leagues can summon government force to blackout sports in local television markets because of attendance problems the leagues themselves could solve by lowering ticket prices. The existing rules have prevented a freer media market for forty years and should be repealed.



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