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The Big Leagues Go to WashingtonCongress and Sports Antitrust, 1951-1989$
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David George Surdam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039140

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039140.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Professional Sports Teams Grapple with Radio and Television

Professional Sports Teams Grapple with Radio and Television

(p.147) 10 Professional Sports Teams Grapple with Radio and Television
The Big Leagues Go to Washington

David George Surdam

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines professional team sports' history with radio and television. Congress played an active role in the marriage of sports and television by passing legislation concerning national television contracts and television blackout rules. Legislators denounced Major League Baseball (MLB) for broadcasting and telecasting their games into minor league territory as well as National Football League (NFL) owners for their blackouts of telecasts of home games. Legislators also worried about the effects of NFL telecasts on college and high school football games, although little evidence was presented regarding these effects. This chapter first considers the early history of television in sports before discussing the effects of televising home games upon attendance and gate receipts, the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust suit against the NFL regarding its policy of blocking telecasts of home games, and the controversy surrounding the NFL's blackout policy. It also explores the issue of national television contracts and television revenue sharing.

Keywords:   professional team sports, radio, television contracts, television blackout rules, Major League Baseball, broadcasting, telecasts, National Football League, U.S. Department of Justice, television revenue

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