FanPost

Unbreaking the NFL's blackout policy


With the US raid yesterday on a handful of streaming media sites, fans and visitors of the Cincy Jungle voiced concerns about the raid, the continued availability of the streams, and the illegal nature of the sites to begin with.

The real question all fans of the NFL should be asking, why in a free market economy which the USA has are the choices of obtaining blacked out NFL games limited to the current four options. You can watch the game illegally, which is illegal. You can buy a ticket and watch the game in person. You can miss the game or settle for the radio. Or you can watch another game.

Where is the critical fifth option of allowing you to purchase the blacked out event for home viewing? I've always maintained, I will not subscribe to the NFL's Sunday Ticket until I can at least have the option of securing blacked out Bengal's games. If the NFL wants to charge me specifically for the ability to view those blacked out Bengal's games, fine, lets talk about it. I'll consider paying 5 to 20 bucks per game to see the Bengals in my home.

The problem exists in the current NFL model. There is no avenue for the NFL to make this option available within the current established TV network contractual model. Nor will the NFL risk billions of dollars by angering Fox, NBC, ABC, or CBS which they could lose in a network contract dispute. The NFL lacks any incentive to ever present an option for in-market fans to legally purchase blacked out games.

This is where we can hope a Representative or Senator has a successful degree of maneuvering. Only by strong arming the NFL with a fear of legislated change will the NFL be compelled to make this black out option available to the fans. Attacking or at least questioning the existing black out rules is a start. These analog contracts were drawn up in a time before the age of the internet and satellites delivered data bits into our daily lives.

Consider what the music industry spent the better part of the 1990s ignoring or blocking. The progression and acceptance of MP3s. Finally admitting in the 2000s, the market had changed. Consumers were getting and making MP3s regardless of the DMCA or lack of commercial MP3 purchasing options. Eventually the music industry embraced the changed business model. MP3s are a legal available option for purchase in 2012. Are you more likely to buy a MP3 in 2012 or buy a CD?

You can't legislate morality. You can offer business models that work in current and future economic conditions. That by the definition of it, is a free market economy. Time for the NFL to get with the 2000s and make blacked out NFL games available for home purchase.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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