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senate Bill S. 2414

Do TV Blackouts of Pro Sports Games Need to be Stopped?

Argument in favor

Fans deserve to be able to watch their team’s games live, even when they’re playing at home. Pro sports leagues and broadcasters need to ensure that happens, and this bill requires them to stop TV blackouts of home games in the host team’s media market.

Gary's Opinion
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11/07/2016
Really? Congress can't make budget but they can find the for this?
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David's Opinion
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11/12/2016
It is time to end the NFL's antitrust exemption relating to showing sports games. There is no justification for keeping it.
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Scott's Opinion
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11/04/2016
It's unfair to consumers and fans and restricts competition.
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Argument opposed

There’s a reason professional sports games get blacked out, and that’s because the home team’s stadium didn’t sell out. Sports franchises and broadcasters should be able to encourage in-person attendance by blacking out games that don’t sell out.

Loraki's Opinion
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09/13/2016
Not the federal government's business! If enough of We the People truly want an end of blackouts, we can bring great pressure to bear by exercising our own "power of the purse". Both the sport franchises and the television industry depend on the money we are willing to spend on their goods and services. Also, people can mobilize public opinion through letters, petitions, rallies, protests, etc., if the matter is something that they care enough about.
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SherryTX's Opinion
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09/12/2016
I am livid that this is even being brought up as a Bill. It's called priorities and the sports leagues are not a priority right now. Figure out how to cut spending, not create more! Did all politicians not get an allowance when they were kids so they could learn how to manage money?
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B.R.'s Opinion
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09/13/2016
With all that is going on in this country and the issues that need to be addressed, Congress should be ashamed of themselves for presenting this bill.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2414?

This bill — known as the FANS Act — would end TV blackouts of sporting events by requiring professional sports leagues to meet basic obligations to fans in order to continue receiving benefits like an exemption from antitrust laws. It would prohibit broadcasters from removing the live coverage of a league’s games and require that a live, sponsored broadcast be available to consumers and fans within the media market where a game is being played over the TV or internet.

An exception within professional sports leagues’ antitrust exemption that prohibits home games from being televised in a team’s media market would be repealed by this legislation.

Impact

Fans of sports teams whose home game broadcasts are blacked out; professional sports franchises; professional sports leagues; broadcast networks; and the FCC.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2414

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced this bill to ensure that fans have access to live broadcasts of their favorite team’s games by ending blackouts of pro sports games:

“We’re throwing the flag on these anti-consumer tactics and putting more games in front of the fans that deserve to see their favorite team play. The [bill] would ensure fans have rightful access to the lives games of their favorite teams, regardless of where they live. It is unconscionable that we continue to allow special breaks and deals for professional sports leagues that impose anti-consumer blackout policies and leave their fans in the dark.”

Lead cosponsor Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) echoed that sentiment in his own statement:

“The FANS Act is about ensuring that loyal sports fans aren’t the ones who have to pay the price for outdated rules and unfair league policies. For years, sports leagues have been blacking out broadcasts of sporting events at the expense of the very taxpayers and fans they rely on to subsidize million-dollar stadiums. Leagues should have to meet basic obligations if they wish to continue receiving substantial public benefits from fans, such as an exemption from federal antitrust law.”


Of Note: The National Football League (NFL) lifted its blackout policy starting in 2015, which will continue into the current season. That followed a decision by the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate the federal sports blackout rule.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Bernard Gagnon / Creative Commons)

AKA

FANS Act

Official Title

A bill to decrease the frequency of sports blackouts, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedDecember 17th, 2015
    Not the federal government's business! If enough of We the People truly want an end of blackouts, we can bring great pressure to bear by exercising our own "power of the purse". Both the sport franchises and the television industry depend on the money we are willing to spend on their goods and services. Also, people can mobilize public opinion through letters, petitions, rallies, protests, etc., if the matter is something that they care enough about.
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    I am livid that this is even being brought up as a Bill. It's called priorities and the sports leagues are not a priority right now. Figure out how to cut spending, not create more! Did all politicians not get an allowance when they were kids so they could learn how to manage money?
    Like (10)
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    With all that is going on in this country and the issues that need to be addressed, Congress should be ashamed of themselves for presenting this bill.
    Like (7)
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    Terrorism. Government Dissatisfaction. The Economy. Gun Control. Unemployment. Jobs. Crime. Violence. Immigration. National Security. Poverty. Hunger. Homelessness. Race Relations. Yeah, lets go ahead and worry more about what Pro Sports Games may or may not be on a blackout list than anything that might actually matter.
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    Government should stay out of it.
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    Really? Congress can't make budget but they can find the for this?
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    The federal government has no business whatsoever in this private business decision!
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    While I enjoy the games, I too have been "blacked out" from seeing my favorite team. But let's not go overboard and use government force. The FCC would love to bully the NFL or any other league. Allow the state to control this problem with local votes, not the iron fist of the federal bureaucracy.
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    Use antenna TV and then cable or satellite programers won't stand a chance to block local sports. ESPN is not your answer.
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    It is time to end the NFL's antitrust exemption relating to showing sports games. There is no justification for keeping it.
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    Is this what congress is wasting their time on?
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    This is just supid why are these even issues that are waisting time? No wonder our government can't get a budget passed.
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    I believe that the government should end blackouts, but why is this even important?
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    The government shouldn't be in the sports business to start with. End the monopolies in sports and the problem will solve itself.
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    WHY ARE YOU TAKING TIME ON A MATTER LIKE THIS WHEN THERE ARE OTHER MORE IMPORTANT BUSINESS TO TAKE CARE OF,
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    We're trillions of dollars in debt, and some moron is making THIS a priority!?!?!?
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    It's unfair to consumers and fans and restricts competition.
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    WTF ???? Why the hell would this trivial shit be sitting with the congress of the United States. PRIORITIES people Please.
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    When stadiums are paid for without tax dollars we can talk
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    This is beneath local governments. Federal government has way more important matters to deal with.
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