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rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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October 26th, 2014 at 4:31:31 PM permalink
I noticed this statement from the NFL last month. It contains what I think is a questionable assertion. Is it actually true? Are games on ESPN and NFL Network also available over-the-air via some method?

Here's the statement: "“NFL teams have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts,” the league said in a statement issued after the FCC’s unanimous vote to scrap the blackout rule. “The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television. The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”

Emphasis is mine. Source is here.
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ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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October 26th, 2014 at 4:47:54 PM permalink
If you limit this to the four major USA professional sports leagues, then that's true. The Warriors in the NBA, Sharks in the NHL, and Giants in MLB have games that are broadcast only on regional cable channels. (I'm not sure that the Sharks had any games on "free over-the-air television"; they certainly didn't have all of them. For that matter, I'm not sure that the Warriors did, either.)

There may be a reason for this. Networks don't like it when affiliates pre-empt prime time programming for local baseball / basketball / hockey games, and there aren't enough independent stations left to show the games. Also, there was a time when team owners flat out refused to have games aired in the home market (until the mid-1980s, this was the case for the San Francisco Giants - and yes, they made sure that a Braves-Giants game in San Francisco that was being broadcast on TBS was blacked out as well.)

Note that, obviously, not every NFL game is on OTA throughout the USA - and part of that is the NFL's doing. Going back to the Bay Area as an example, there is a rule where if, for example, CBS is airing a Raiders home game, then the Fox station in San Francisco cannot air a game at the same time even though it's a Fox doubleheader day - and even if the Raiders game is blacked out in San Francisco.
rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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October 26th, 2014 at 4:51:56 PM permalink
Quote: ThatDonGuy


Note that, obviously, not every NFL game is on OTA throughout the USA - and part of that is the NFL's doing. Going back to the Bay Area as an example, there is a rule where if, for example, CBS is airing a Raiders home game, then the Fox station in San Francisco cannot air a game at the same time even though it's a Fox doubleheader day - and even if the Raiders game is blacked out in San Francisco.



My problem is that I think there are some NFL games that are not available free OTA anywhere in the USA. Tomorrow night's game, for example. ESPN has exclusive rights, and ESPN is not free OTA in any US market.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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October 26th, 2014 at 5:00:34 PM permalink
Quote: rdw4potus

I noticed this statement from the NFL last month. It contains what I think is a questionable assertion. Is it actually true? Are games on ESPN and NFL Network also available over-the-air via some method?



I believe they are available over the air in home team markets subject to the blackout rule. That was part of the deal, spoken or with a wink, when ESPN started getting games in the 1980s.

The silly part is what on earth gives the FCC any right to decide what games are aired or not? That should be the choice of the NFL and the NFL only.

The NFL is likely looking forward to when there is not enough network money to keep the revenue growing. If the television landscape changes this could easily happen.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
rdw4potus
rdw4potus
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October 26th, 2014 at 5:07:11 PM permalink
Quote: AZDuffman

I believe they are available over the air in home team markets subject to the blackout rule. That was part of the deal, spoken or with a wink, when ESPN started getting games in the 1980s.

The silly part is what on earth gives the FCC any right to decide what games are aired or not? That should be the choice of the NFL and the NFL only.

The NFL is likely looking forward to when there is not enough network money to keep the revenue growing. If the television landscape changes this could easily happen.



Is it ABC who would have the Monday Night rights? or CBS/FOX according to the league? What about the Thursday NFL TV games? Is that CBS's because of their Thursday deal?
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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October 26th, 2014 at 5:37:50 PM permalink
Quote: rdw4potus

Is it ABC who would have the Monday Night rights? or CBS/FOX according to the league? What about the Thursday NFL TV games? Is that CBS's because of their Thursday deal?



I am not sure here. Last week I did not get the Steelers locally so I guess they were on ABC, the only local I do not get. Way back it seemed that when ESPN or TNT had the game whoever the local affiliate was for the home team's conference got it. (IOW, the Steelers would have been on NBC then and CBS now but regardless of if they were home or away and who they were playing. Inter-conference games go to the network of the conference of the away team so each network will get to go to every city.)

Looking at Wikipedia, only the NFL could make something so simple so complicated:

Quote: Wikipedia

To maximize TV ratings, as well as to protect the NFL's ability to sell TV rights collectively, games televised on ESPN or the NFL Network are blacked out in each of the primary markets of both teams (the Green Bay Packers have two primary markets, Green Bay and Milwaukee, a remnant of when they played some home games in Milwaukee each season, see below) under syndicated exclusivity regulations as the league sells via broadcast syndication a package featuring that team's games. This station does not need to have affiliate connections with a national broadcaster of NFL games, though owned-and-operated stations of ABC and Hearst Television (even those Hearst stations not affiliated with ABC, and including their one independent station in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market) have first right of refusal due to both ESPN and ABC's common ownership by The Walt Disney Company (Hearst holds a 20% stake in ESPN). In recent years, the ABC O&Os have passed on airing the game, opting instead to air the network's Monday night schedule which includes the successful Dancing with the Stars.[24] In other markets, stations who are the affiliates of MyNetworkTV or The CW (and, in at least one case, an independent station[25]) have out bid more established local broadcasters in some markets. However, the home team's market must be completely served by the station and that broadcast can only air if the game is sold out within 72 hours of kick-off (see below).



I haven't had cable in several years and when I lived with my parents a few years back I forget if or not ESPN blacked it out locally. But reading the above, which is as hard of reading as some of the "Cheating Boyfriend" letters, it looks like any local station can bid to put it on locally. And if they do, my guess is whoever carries the local Exhibition Season will get it since they will probably put in their own local broadcast team.

Clear as mud now?
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others

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