Last night, DirecTV and FOX announced they had reached a resolution to their retransmission dispute that would have left millions of DirecTV subscribers without some FOX cable networks starting today. Had the dispute not been resolved, millions of sports fans would have been without college football, soccer and the NHL, among other sports.
Even though this individual dispute was resolved, the larger problem still exists — media companies can go to war for profits and take down sports programming when their demands aren’t met. Sports Fans Coalition is working hard to show the FCC how sports leagues are already treated differently by the law (including the antitrust exemptions we grant them) and given the massive public subsidization of sports by the public, these “takedowns” of sports programming should be eliminated. As should all blackouts generally.
Sports fans shouldn’t be treated like a political football in these disputes. We’ve already paid for our games.