Fans watch the action along a fence at Chargers Park. Photo credit: Chris Stone
Fans watch the action along a fence at Chargers Park. Photo credit: Chris Stone

On the day the Federal Communications Commission unanimously got rid of its sports blackout rule, the Chargers announced Tuesday that around 3,000 tickets remain available for the team’s Sunday game against the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium.

Under the nearly 40-year-old rule, cable companies and satellite providers were prohibited from bringing in an out-of-town signal to a local market where a game had been blacked out.

The ban effectively enforced the National Football League’s rule that prevented over-the-air broadcasters from showing games when the home team was unable to sell-out a contest 72 hours before kickoff — which happened sometimes to the Chargers over the years.

“One of the ways that (the) NFL flexes its muscle is its TV blackout policy, which is effectively a tool for blackmailing fans to go to games — at a cost of roughly $500 for a family of four,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

“[Tuesday], I’m pleased to say that the FCC is standing up for football fans and common sense,” he said. “Completing the work the commission began last December, we are eliminating the FCC’s sports blackout rule, which punishes fans and has outlived its usefulness.”

According to news reports, the NFL can still enforce its own rules, which are written into contracts with broadcasters.

Last week at this time, around 5,000 tickets were available for a contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sponsors bought up the tickets and gave them to youth in military families.

This week, the Chargers have until Thursday at 1:25 p.m. to move all but the most expensive seats at “The Q.”

— City News Service