FOX Threatening World Series, NFL Blackout for Viewers Across Nation

Oct 11, 2010, 13:00 ET from Sports Fans Coalition

Holding Sports Fans and other Viewers Hostage

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Sports Fans Coalition today urged News Corporation's Fox to lift its current blackouts of regional sports networks across the nation and back off its threat to extend the blackout to Fox broadcast stations, depriving viewers of the NFL and World Series.

"Fox has blindsided sports fans this month by taking its regional sports networks off of a pay-tv provider as a form of leverage in contract disputes," said Brian Frederick, executive director of the Coalition.   "With the professional and college football seasons well underway and postseason baseball just getting started, many sports fans are already extremely upset about missing the games they want to see.  We have written News Corp. CEO and Chairman Rupert Murdoch, urging him to settle these commercial disputes off the field, but keep the games on the air."  Full letter available here.

The Sports Fans Coalition is a nonprofit fighting to give sports fans a voice on issues like media blackoutscollege football playoffsstadium construction and high ticket prices.

Fox has already removed its regional sports networks from a major pay TV provider in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee and Los Angeles and is threatening to do the same with the Fox broadcast network in cities that include New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Minneapolis.  Many of these cities have teams in the MLB playoffs.

"Sports fans should not be treated like fumbled pigskin in a clash between corporate behemoths," said Frederick.  "Because sports are so important to Americans, sports coverage is often used as the primary form of leverage in contract disputes between broadcasters and pay-TV companies. We ask that this October, Fox not engage in this practice."

SOURCE Sports Fans Coalition