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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Sioux City Rep. J.D. Scholten pitches legislative ban on MLB television blackouts in Iowa

Thursday morning, first-term Iowa State Rep. J.D. Scholten, D-Sioux City, announced a bill aimed at ending TV blackouts for Major League Baseball broadcasting in the state.

House File 577, which was introduced by Scholten and co-sponsored by Wilton Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, would prohibit a sports broadcast platform from stopping paying customers in Iowa from being able to watch MLB games. The measure would include not just cable but video and internet-streaming providers as well.

“The aim of this bipartisan legislation is to grow America’s game, alleviate Iowa baseball fans from unfairness from media companies, and relieve bar owners from the overly burdensome purchasing of multiple channels and,” Scholten said in a release.

A 2022 piece from Sporting News found as many as six professional baseball teams are subjected to blackout rules in Iowa: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. So even someone with a subscription to a service such as might not be able to watch their games. According to the MLB’s own website, yearly subscriptions can be purchased for $149.99 a year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2023 at 10:25 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blackout restrictions

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   1. John Northey Posted: March 29, 2023 at 07:09 PM (#6121728)
Sheesh, good old trying to get your name in the headlines politics. So silly. I agree the blackouts are dumb but MLB is a private business and it is up to them if they want to lose potential customers.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: March 29, 2023 at 08:46 PM (#6121733)

"Is this heaven?"

"It's the Iowa statehouse."

"Iowa statehouse? I could have sworn this was heaven."

"Is there a heaven?"

"Oh yeah. It's the place where dreams come true."

"Maybe this is hell."
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 29, 2023 at 10:18 PM (#6121740)
I agree the blackouts are dumb but MLB is a private business and it is up to them if they want to lose potential customers.
Not that unusual. Both Congress & the FCC have addressed the NFL blackout policies.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2023 at 11:06 PM (#6121748)
Interfering with private business has become something both parties can agree on!
   5. Karl from NY Posted: March 30, 2023 at 03:27 PM (#6121849)
I post this in most related threads: The reason for the blackouts is to support expansion of the RSNs. If you live in Iowa and want to watch the Cubs, you're supposed to petition your cable provider to add Marquee Sports until they do so.

I'm not supporting the practice, just providing the information for why it happens.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 31, 2023 at 11:08 AM (#6122019)
So silly. I agree the blackouts are dumb but MLB is a private business and it is up to them if they want to lose potential customers.

When MLB gives up its monopoly anti-trust protection, and billions in public subsidizes, I'll care about their rights as a "private" business. They're closer to a public utility than a real private enterprise.

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