Another football question

I know there are very specific rules regarding NFL broadcasts in home team markets. For example, when I lived in Baton Rouge, there was no way we would get a game on TV during the home team time slot, 'cause the Saints would never sell out.

But I now live in the Washington DC area. The 'Skins always sell out. Ok, their games are on TV, no problem.

What I cannot understand is why Fox is not allowed to show the other game when it is their doubleheader weekend. 'Skins play at 1:00; thus, Fox can’t show the late game. Instead, I get sitcom reruns while the rest of the nation gets to see the featured matchup. Same thing when the 'Skins play late–3 hours of crap before the game.

With a sold-out stadium (and a waiting list in the thousands), there is no need to punish the home market, is there?

That does seem strange. I’m sure WTTG would gladly do it if they could, so there must be some rule banning the second game.

I remember a few years ago a 'Skins game didn’t sell out(pre-season), so there was a blackout here in DC. But at Petitbone’s restaurant (Petitbone was the coach of the Skins at the time), the satellite signal was illegally tapped and the game was viewed there. hmmm…

The network that shows the local team at home has a huge lead in audience, in order to distribute veiwers to both networks they are only allowed one game even in their doubleheader weekend.

It’s like this:
Washington skins at home 1:00 start Fox doubleheader weekend

1:00 fox shows skins game
4:00 fox blacked out
cbs shows AFC game

If it’s a CBS doubleheader weekend

1:00 fox shows skins
cbs shows AFC game
4:00 cbs shows AFC game

Well, maybe the Fox affiliate only has the rights to one game, and gets to pick?

A bunch of sports bars in the Bay Area were busted for showing a blacked-out Raiders game, recently.


They want to discourage fans from staying home to watch a bunch of games on TV.

This is why, when the Skins are on the road, you are more apt to get a double-header than not.

In NYC, you never get a double-header, unless it’s a strange combination of the Jets and Giants both playing Prime Time games orr being off for the bye week.

Yer pal,

“A bunch of sports bars in the Bay Area were busted for showing a blacked-out Raiders’ game recently.”

A similar sort of bust occurred in Cleveland back in 1994. What’s outrageous is that the NFL has used its influence to put into Federal law its’s screwy blackout system. I don’t know about the Bay Area busts, but the bars in Cleveland were busted for showing blacked out Browns games, even though the bars were using lawful equipment available at any Radio Shack and were showing Browns’ games being broadcast on the public airwaves, albeit from Toledo stations rather than Cleveland ones. I have two big problems with this: (1) there is no reason the blackout rule should be codified in Federal law; and (2) there is no reason for the blackout rule, period. There is no evidence that blacking out a telecast affects game attendence whatsoever. Back when the rule was implemented it was thought that no one would pay to go to games if it was available for free on TV, but experience with other sports (baseball, college football, basketball), which do not have blackout rules, shows that blackouts have no impact on game attendence.

I don’t think its really codified into federal law. Its just that the NFL owns all the licensing and broadcasting rights to all the games. So basicly, what they say goes. That’s why they say that “this broadcast is intended for private viewing in your home, blah blah blah.”

But if I am discouraged from staying home, where would I go (that would benefit the Redskins or the NFL)? The whole point of my consternation is that the Redskins games are already sold out! With a huge waiting list. Even if I wanted to go to the game, I would have to pay a scalper. Maybe they are trying to encourage me to wander around the park, getting good exercise :).

Of course, it benefits the local sports pub, because that’s where I invariably go to catch the blacked out game (when my team is playing).

Games aren’t blacked out if they’re sold out (more than x% of tickets sold by y o’clock z days before the game). The Niners haven’t had a game blacked out in years. The Raiders haven’t had one shown in almost as long.


divemaster - Not you, silly. I mean ticketholders from staying home. You’re fucked… :smiley:

Yer pal,

OK, this is weird. I seem to recall that growing up in that area (70’s and ‘80’s), we got a double header from either of Baltimore or Washington each week. It was pigskin heaven!

Might they have combined the Baltimore and Washington markets for football purposes? Cuz here, as Satan said, we get exactly one 1:00 game and one 4:00 game except under very unusual circumstances (the Gints and Jets never play at the same time). And that’s even though both teams have ticket waiting lists more than a decade long.

Might your rule be something like “no double header when the Ravens are at home unless they (hah!) sell out”?

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine


The NFL’s blackout rules ARE effectively codified into Federal law via copyright statutes in 17 USC Section 411(b) and 17 USC Section 110. See NFL v. Rondor, Inc., 840 F. Supp. 1160 (1993), where the NFL successfully sued various Cleveland area bars for copyright violation when the bars were telecasting blacked-out Browns games through the use of satellite dishes, satellite dishes that were readily available to ordinary consumers, that were picking up the Browns telecasts from stations in Toledo.

To me NFL v. Rondor, Inc is a ridiculous decision. I still think that since the NFL puts its games out on the public airwaves that anyone with a device that can receive the signals off the public airwaves, like a bar with a Radio Shack satellite dish, isn’t violating the NFL’s copyright.