NFL Suspends TV Blackout Rules for Coming Season

Football teams will reevaluate policy at the end of the year

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The NFL is suspending its TV blackout rules for the 2015-2016 season, spokesperson Brian McCarthy announced in a tweet Monday morning.

NFL owners voted to suspend the policy for one year, after which the league will evaluate its impact following the coming season.

The blackout rules prohibit home football games from being broadcast within 75 miles of the local market if a certain number of tickets are unsold. Until the policy was loosened in 2012 to lower the sales threshold to 85 percent, teams were required to sell out a game to exempt it from blackout. Teams opting for that threshold, however, must split ticket revenues evenly, where the home team previously took 60 percent of the pool.

At the time, McCarthy remarked that 25 to 30 percent of all games were subject to blackout two decades ago, but in 2011 that number was down to 6 percent. The policy was adopted in 1975 to encourage fans to pay to watch the home team in person.