Sen. John McCain aims to eliminate NFL TV blackouts


Having lived in Cincinnati during the Bengals' lost years of the 1990s, I used to pray for a television blackout just for the chance to watch quality professional football.

If Sen. John McCain gets his wish, those blackouts will become obsolete. McCain introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 on Thursday, billing it as an avenue to "help shift the landscape to benefit television consumers."

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The heart of the legislation is an effort to curb "bundling," which would allow customers to purchase channels on an individual basis rather than paying for packages of channels they won't watch.

McCain's bill also aims to eliminate the sports blackout rule, which prohibits local television stations from airing an NFL game that is not sold out. While that proposal has no shot of standing up in privately owned stadiums, McCain wants it implemented for any team whose stadium was funded with taxpayer dollars.

"When the venue in which these sporting events take place has been the beneficiary of taxpayer funding," McCain said, via the Los Angeles Times, "it is unconscionable to deny those taxpayers who paid for it the ability to watch the games on television when they would otherwise be available."

As a football fan and a taxpayer, I can see the sense in McCain's logic. Unfortunately for the senator, the bill is expected to face heavy resistance from the television industry.

Stay tuned.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.