NFL to suspend TV blackout policy for 2015 season

NFL suspends TV blackout policy
NFL suspends TV blackout policy   

The National Football League will shelve its television blackout policy for the upcoming season, it announced on Monday.

Teams voted to suspend blackouts for one year and will evaluate the policy's effectiveness after the season. The suspension will apply to both preseason and regular-season games.

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The NFL shows matchups in local markets on free, over-the-air television. Previously, for a game to air locally, it needed to sell out 72 hours before its start.

About 50 percent of games were taken off local airwaves in the 1970s, but blackouts have happened less often in the decades since. No blackouts took place last season, while two games were blacked out the year before.

The Federal Communications Commission last fall repealed its blackout rules, which ended its reinforcement of the NFL's policy but did not stop the league from enforcing blackouts.

Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by the St. Louis Rams in a 2014 NFL game.
Getty Images
Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by the St. Louis Rams in a 2014 NFL game.

The NFL said separately on Monday that it will show a game digitally in the upcoming regular season. It will mark the first time the league will distribute a national game on a platform other than a TV network.

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The contest between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars is slated for Oct. 25 at Wembley Stadium in London and will be shown online.