The National Football League is dropping its blackout rule for the 2015 season.
The rule prevents games from being broadcast in a team’s home market if the tickets aren’t sold out. It’s been around since the 1950s, when NFL games were first televised.
The rule was conceived back when the league depended on ticket sales rather than television rights as its major source of revenue. But the league’s broadcast rights are now worth about about $5.1 billion a year, making the NFL the most profitable professional sports league. And its broadcastsdominate TV ratings.
Still, the league had been reluctant to drop the rule, especially as more fans prefer to watch games at home on big-screen TV’s, rather than going to games in person.