Restriction of Televised NFL Games I

On the 13th week of the 1971 season, the Miami Dolphins went to Baltimore on a Saturday afternoon. This was a nationally televised game between two  AFC Power Houses.  Avid pro football fans in Philadelphia turned on KYW Channel 3, the NBC Station,  to watch the game.  After that, avid pro football fans in Philadelphia called KYW Channel 3, the NBC outlet, to protest the black out.  There was the Boardwalk Bowl in Atlantic City 60 miles away, which nobody cared about.

The Sports Broadcasting Act, approved September  30, 1961 states the following: The National Collegiate Athletic Association, which regulates college football, lobbied for a special provision in the SBA that only applied to the NFL. The NCAA was concerned that the NFL might use its new found television freedom to compete against college football games that were played on Fridays and Saturdays. Thus, at the NCAA’s insistence, Congress qualified its antitrust exemption to say that a television contract was still an “unreasonable” restraint of trade if it allowed. The act itself read.

“The telecasting of all or a substantial part of any professional football game on any Friday after six o’clock postmeridian or on any Saturday during the period beginning on the second Friday in September and ending on the second Saturday in December in any year from any telecasting station located within seventy-five miles of the game site of any intercollegiate or interscholastic football contest scheduled to be played on such a date.

To sum up there can no telecast of an NFL Game anywhere on a Friday night or Saturday until the second Saturday in December.  Since television began, the networks had a Saturday  game on television the last two weekends of the season.  Even so, the networks blacked out a city within a 60 mile radius of a college game.


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