November 19th, 2013

NDP moves to end television blackouts for live sports events

Today, NDP Consumer Affairs Critic Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury) introduced legislation that would ban television blackouts for live sporting events held in venues constructed with the help of public financing.

“Whether it’s NHL Hockey or CFL football, Canadian tax dollars have been used to help construct stadiums and arenas that house professional sports franchises,” said Thibeault. “It’s only fair that these professional sports leagues offer some reciprocity and allow fans to watch these games on television without the threat of regional broadcast blackouts.”

Blackouts are broadcasting restrictions imposed by broadcasters, professional sports teams or leagues and typically restrict the broadcast of live events in the city where a local sports team plays, but sometimes extends to whole regions or even an entire province.

“If taxpayers assisted in funding the construction of the stadium or arena, then taxpayers should be able to watch the game on television regardless of whether the team has sold out the stadium or whether fans live in a designated geographic region in which broadcasters choose to blackout a game,” concluded Thibeault.