Our opinion: Game viewing no political football

It’s unlikely state Rep. Patty Kim’s effort to force changes to the NFL’s secondary market rules in Pennsylvania will bear much fruit.

Kim is circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum for a resolution that would attempt to give fans more of a say in the games the NFL and its broadcast partners show in some markets. Political parties may not doom this resolution in the state Legislature as much as rooting interests, but even if it does pass the state Legislature can’t require the NFL to do much of anything. It’s symbolic at best.

And that’s too bad, because Kim, a Harrisburg Democrat, is like many football fans who struggle with a lack of choice when it comes to the games broadcast on television each week. Kim wants to see the NFL, Federal Communications Commission and broadcasters include fan input when deciding secondary markets so that more fans get the games they want each week rather than being forced to watch games they don’t want to see. Of particular interest to Kim are decisions like the one made in Harrisburg, which is a secondary market for the Baltimore Ravens rather than the Steelers.

There are a couple of flies in the ointment for Kim’s plan when it comes to broadcast television, however. Harrisburg may have as many fans of the Philadelphia Eagles as the Steelers, while other parts of the state may have television markets with fans split between the Eagles, Steelers and Cleveland Browns. So which game should be featured?

A better solution would come with streaming options. The NFL could easily allow fans to use the CBS or FOX apps on their streaming devices to choose any of the network’s slate of games to watch. Of course, that would mean the league would have to put fans first rather than dollars.

The NFL’s broadcast revenue isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon. Those skyrocketing rights revenues should bring more choice to NFL fans of the games they want to see each week.


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