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Commission Seeks Comment On Sports Blackout Petition

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Released: January 12, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-44

January 12, 2012

MEDIA BUREAU ACTION

COMMISSION SEEKS COMMENT ON PETITION FOR RULEMAKING SEEKING

ELIMINATION OF THE SPORTS BLACKOUT RULE

MB Docket No. 12-3

Responses due: February 13, 2012
Replies due:

February 28, 2012

A group of petitioners1 have filed a Petition for Rulemaking asking the Commission to eliminate the
Commission’s rules regarding sports blackouts, which prohibit MVPDs from carrying a sporting event if
the event is blacked out on local broadcast television stations.2 The petitioners claim that the Commission
should eliminate the sports blackout rules because the rules prevent consumers’ access to local sports
events, particularly with ticket prices and unemployment at their current high levels.3 The petitioners also
argue that sports leagues could privately negotiate the same results that the rule affords, and therefore the
Commission’s rules, which tacitly endorse these private contracts, are unnecessary.4 Finally, the
Petitioners assert that the Commission has the authority to make this rule change.5 With this Public
Notice, we seek comment on this petition and announce the pleading cycle during which comments and
replies may be filed.

This proceeding will be treated as “permit but disclose” for purposes of the Commission’s ex parte rules.
See generally 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200-1.1216. As a result of the permit-but-disclose status of this
proceeding, ex parte presentations will be governed by the procedures set forth in Section 1.1206 of the
Commission’s rules applicable to non-restricted proceedings.6 Persons making ex parte presentations
must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within
two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period


1 The petitioners are the Sports Fan Coalition, Inc., Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, National Consumers
League, and League of Fans.
2 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.111, 76.120, 76.127-130.
3 Petition at 6.
4 Petition at 8-13.
5 Petition at 13-17.
6 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206.

applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the
presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex
parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b). Written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte
presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system
available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable
.pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex parte rules.
Parties may file responses to the Petition on or before

February 13, 2012

and replies on or before

February 28, 2012

. Please place the case identifier,

MB Docket No. 12-3

, on all filings. Comments
may be filed using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing
of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
§
Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.
§
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding,
filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
§
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
§
All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
§
Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
§
U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
§
People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).
Copies of the Petition and any subsequently filed documents in this matter are also available for
inspection in the Commission’s Reference Information Center:
445 12th Street, S.W., CY-Level
Washington, D.C. 20554
(202) 418-0270
2

For further information, contact Brendan Murray of the Media Bureau, (202) 418-1573. Press inquiries
should be directed to Janice Wise (202) 418-8165.
-FCC-
3

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