The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president Richard Trumka came out in support of the NFL's sports blackout rule in a letter dated Aug. 26, ProFootballTalk.com reported on Friday.
“The current broadcast rules promote full stadiums, which provide jobs and incomes for the working people we are proud to represent, and they promote free over-the-air television, on which many working people rely,” Trumka wrote. “We have seen all other sports migrate away from the free over-the-air model and are concerned that eliminating the [FCC's] Sports Blackout Rule may make the NFL leave free over-the-air television as well.”
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Writes PFT's Mike Florio: "The removal of NFL football from free broadcast TV would spark an outrage from the public even bigger than the Ray Rice backlash, resulting in the immediate drafting of legislation that would strip the league of its broadcast antitrust protection. In turn, the league would be forced to allow teams to cut their own TV deals, Notre Dame-style. Some teams would make billions and others would make millions and others may be relegated to local public access. The ensuing competition for dollars and product exposure would make the maximum audience that comes from a broadcast network very attractive to some teams, possibly sparking a bidding war among multiple franchises for the privilege of being the official team of ABC, FOX, CBS, or NBC."
The NFL regular season begins on Thursday, with the defending champion Seahawks playing host to the Packers. The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC.
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- Chris Mascaro