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FCC Considering Ending Sports Blackout Rule

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Raiders Fans (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Raiders Fans (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Raider fans may no longer have to worry each week that the home team will be blacked out on local television.

The Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step towards repealing the decades-old rule that prevents live sporting events from being televised if the event isn’t sold out.

On Wednesday, FCC’s five-member commission voted unanimously in favor of repealing the rule. Public comment is now being sought on the issue and a final determination could come sometime next year.

The NFL opposes the move. The league said in a statement that they “strongly oppose any change in the rule. We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago. While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets.”

The Raiders have struggled for years with low attendance. In February, the team lowered the capacity of the O.Co Coliseum to reduce the risk of blackouts. According to the NFL, the 53,200 seats are the fewest in the NFL.

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