Let us remember the plight of the Green Bay Packers fan. As the Packers headed into the NFC wild-card matchup, temperatures were expected to hit minus 19°. But local cheeseheads unwilling to submit themselves to Arctic temperatures couldn't watch the game on television. The reason? Not enough fans had bought tickets, and a rule from 1975 by the Federal Communications Comission declared that any local game that failed to sell 85 percent of tickets within three days of kickoff couldn't be broadcast.
The idea was to make sure fans showed up to stadiums instead of sitting on the couch. But with nearly all modern NFL games selling out and the league pulling in $6 billion a year in television revenue, the FCC, under the direction of Tom Wheeler, voted unanimously today to longer support the rule. Now, cable and satellite networks will be allowed to broadcast local games to local markets, regardless of ticket sales.
It's easy to see this as a victory for football fans, who can now ostensibly watch the game without shelling out the NFL average ticket price of $254.70. (Though it's worth noting that only two games were blacked out in the 2013 season, and only 16 in 2012.)