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Higgins urges FCC to move forward on ending sports blackout rule

by jmaloni
Fri, Aug 16th 2013 06:30 pm

Congressman Brian Higgins wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn requesting further action toward ending the sports blackout rule.

"Football hasn't even entered the regular season, and yet Western New Yorkers are already facing blackouts of Buffalo Bills football games," Higgins said. "A determination by the FCC of whether this policy is in the public interest is worthy of a serious and long-overdue consideration."

In January 2012, the FCC opened a public comment period on a proposed elimination of the sports blackout rule. Higgins submitted a comment and also urged Western New Yorkers to participate in the public comment period.

Higgins led several of his congressional colleagues in sending a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking for the league to end its policy of game blackouts in home team media markets.

In July 2012, Higgins hailed the NFL for amending its blackout policy to allow owners to voluntarily broadcast football games to local markets when stadiums are at 85 percent capacity. The Buffalo Bills chose not to opt-in to this change. As team owners expressed issue with this policy change, Higgins partnered with Senate colleagues to ask the NFL to refine the policy to make it more appealing to both teams and fans.

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