Facing intense pressure from lawmakers and federal regulators, the NFL decided Monday it won't black out any games on TV—at least for the 2015 season.
The announcement is an abrupt reversal for the league, which had long defended the policy that prevented local TV stations from airing games if the team failed to sell out at least 85 percent of the stadium.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission repealed its regulations which had supported the NFL's blackout policy. The rules barred cable and satellite providers from showing games that were blacked out on local stations. But even with the FCC's rule change, the NFL's actual blackout policy had remained in effect.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., pushed legislation to strip the NFL of its exemption from fair competition laws if it refused to end its blackout policy.
The NFL owners approved a one-year suspension of the policy Monday and said they will evaluate a long-term decision after the season. An NFL spokesman noted that the league had blacked out no games in 2014 and only two games in 2013.
The league had argued that the policy helped to ensure full attendance at games and boost local economies.