Feb 23, 12
By EJ Parfitt
Sports fans hate blackouts. Apparently Congress is tired of them, too. Television blackouts occur when professional sports teams have an event scheduled for broadcast at a specific time and the event does not sell out within 72 hours, at least in professional football. The National Football League has maintained this policy since broadcast rights have become a major source of revenue, especially since the common availability of cable and satellite television service.
Improvements in technology and the expense of attending a professional sporting event have contributed to this situation, leaving many sports fans literally in the dark. Many fans have cried foul for years because the blackouts tend to extend over areas large enough to prevent regular attendance by the regional fans. The powers-that-be have determined that each section of the United States should be in some team’s coverage area and the television contracts are written such that the local team in that region is the only game that can be carried when they play, as though that team owns that region. For the purpose of broadcasts, they do.
Congress recently requested that the National Football League cease this practice because of impracticality. The premise is the policy does more harm than good. And it has very little affect on such things as the price of tickets and amenities at a game, which everyone is well aware has increased dramatically since the contemporary problem of escalating player salaries due to free agency.
The truth about NFL broadcasts is that the regional broadcasts are easily shared online through the various peer-to-peer networks that are available on the internet and the process of policing illegal streams is practically impossible because of the ability to change locations in a days time. Personal broadcasting and widespread broadband capability has changed the entire scope of the blackout policy. Policing online broadcasts is the equivalent of playing a national game of whack-a-mole. But, the capability to watch almost any game is there for anyone who is internet savvy enough to chase the streams.
The most efficient and legal method of gaining access to NFL games is to purchase a direct ticket programming plan from Directv. The satellite programming giant has offered a sports package for several years that includes access to the broadcasts of every game each week, regardless of blackout status. The plans are often included in summertime signup specials in advance of the season that will ensure that any and all games available are on the premium package. Any serious football fan should seriously consider this option.
Cable packages always include local games in regular broadcasts, but the games are always determined by region. The viewer has very little choice. Individuals who have multiple stations in their cable package with national broadcasting companies can get two or three games in many cases, but this viewing option is still very limited and is also offered in regular viewing packages. Viewers who live in the region or city and are fans of the local team cannot watch the games on television when the game does not sell out. If they are fans of a team out their area, they cannot watch unless their favorite team plays the local team. The result is mass frustration from this policy that the league teams clearly have figured out. And so has DTV.
Tech writer EJ Parfitt has been writing for a short time now and has already picked up steam with several tech websites and local news sites . During his free time , you’re sure to catch him competing in local chess tournaments in downtown Fort Lauderdale FL .