First on Fox: A Democratic Home lawmaker is demanding an investigation into whether or not American customers are being cheated out of hundreds of {dollars} by way of so-called “sports activities blackouts” and whether or not it’s the results of broadcast monopolies abusing their energy.

“Yesterday was Sports activities Equinox Day, the one day of the yr when all 4 main skilled sports activities leagues play concurrently. And but New Yorkers, who already pay hundreds of {dollars} a yr to look at their favourite groups, are looking at black screens as a result of billionaires care.” “With it.” “It is extra about revenue from their followers. They’re bulls—,” Rep. Pat Ryan, D-N.Y., advised Fox Information Digital.

“(Y)ou should not have to purchase 6 streaming providers solely to seek out out the sport has been blocked. The leagues are making greater than sufficient cash – let’s put the ability again the place it belongs: with the followers.”

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Washington Football Team Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins No. 7 of the Washington Soccer Staff appears handy off the ball throughout an NFL soccer sport towards the Panthers at FedExField on December 27, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Picture by Mitchell Layton/Getty Photographs)

A “sports activities blackout” happens when a specific sporting occasion is prevented from being broadcast in a specific market.

Underneath a regulation handed by Congress in 1961, sports activities leagues have been granted an exemption from antitrust rules for larger flexibility in negotiating between groups and markets. A subsequent regulation handed in 1992 gave broadcasters the precise to withhold content material when negotiations with service suppliers failed.

However years later, the “sports activities blackout” got here beneath scrutiny, because the sheer variety of streaming providers and TV channels allowed leagues to strike profitable offers with varied suppliers — with little concern for American customers, Ryan mentioned.

In a letter to the Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO), Ryan referred to as the ability outages “a supply of frustration and inconvenience for People of all backgrounds.”

Pat Ryan

Democratic New York Rep. Pat Ryan takes on sports activities broadcasting monopolies

“Because of insurance policies adopted by main sports activities leagues and broadcasters, followers of their crew’s residence area are prohibited from watching virtually all of their crew’s matches on any platform aside from their native Regional Sports activities Community (RSN), forcing them to subscribe to a dwell streaming service.” “RSN whereas out-of-market viewers have a selection of cheaper and extra complete streaming providers,” Ryan wrote.

“Even RSN subscribers could be locked out when the league sells unique rights to sure video games to streaming providers like Prime Video, as occurred greater than 20 instances to New York Yankees and Mets followers in the course of the 2023 Main League Baseball (MLB) common season.”


It calls on the Authorities Accountability Workplace to contemplate how widespread blackouts in sports activities have been over the previous 10 years, and what influence, if any, the Sports activities Broadcasting Act of 1961 has had.

It additionally urges the Authorities Accountability Workplace to research the position Congress and federal regulators can play in dismantling monopolies that result in the exploitation of customers.


A dispute between cable supplier Spectrum and media large Disney led to a 10-day outage of ESPN and ESPN+ content material, leaving Spectrum prospects unable to look at the US Open and faculty soccer regardless of paying full value for the flexibility to take action.

This blackout ended simply earlier than Monday Evening Soccer, however not earlier than it obtained important media consideration.

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