The sports TV landscape might see a huge shift in the near future. The United States Federal Communications Commission has proposed to end blackout rules, according to Bloomberg:
BREAKING: U.S. FCC proposes ending TV sports blackout rule— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) December 18, 2013
The blackout rules have long been maligned by sports fans. The rules prevent cable and satellite broadcasters from televising live sporting events that don't have a sellout crowd. It was created 40 years ago to encourage live attendance, but has faced mounting criticism in the modern era. Sports fans have more options than ever to watch games from their home with services like NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB.TV.
To end the rules, the FCC would require a vote by the agency after a period of public comments. It's unknown when or if the vote will take place. The NFL still supports blackout rules and argues that eliminating them would "undermine the retransmission-consent regime and give cable and satellite operators excessive leverage in retransmission-consent negotiations."