SportsFans.org, a nonprofit organization, is asking the Federal Communications Commission to put an end to sports blackouts.
“Sports fans have become a political football in retransmission consent disputes,” the filing said. “In the recurring smack-down negotiations between big broadcasters and big pay-TV companies, games are pulled right before the action starts, leaving fans in the cold. Fans who are vital to the success of sports and who have contributed through multiple public and private expenditures are treated like fumbled pigskins.”
SportsFans.org was established in 2009 in hopes of giving fans a voice on topics like media blackouts, high ticket prices and the college football playoffs.
Specifically, the organization wants the FCC to waive the network non-duplication rules and syndicated exclusivity rules whenever a broadcast signal is taken down during a retransmission dispute so fans can still see the games.
“The Commission has long treated sports programming as distinguishable from other types of programming, whether in the context of special rules, such as the sports blackout rule or merger conditions designed to prevent the anti-competitive hoarding of regional sports networks,” the filing said. “In this proceeding, the Commission similarly can draw the line at using sports programming as a negotiating tool.”