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NFL Says No to Football Games in Theaters

Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 5:57 PM

Here in Wisconsin, we're excited about the Green Bay Packers playing their first playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field in Green Bay on Saturday, January 12, 2008! Those that don't have tickets for the game can enjoy the game in the comfort of their own home, but some fans were looking forward to watching the game at a local movie theater. That is, until the NFL put an end to that idea.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on January 5, 2008 that the NFL was notifying movie theaters that they could not show NFL games on their screens to patrons. The Milwaukee-area theaters discussed in the article were the Marcus Majestic in Brookfield, the Northern Lights theater (live performances, no movies) at the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee, and the Rosebud Cinema Drafthouse in Wauwatosa.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesman, said in an e-mail that the league recently became aware that the businesses were showing Packers games. "We let them know they are violating copyright law and longstanding NFL policies that prohibit mass out-of-town viewing of NFL games," he said.

All three theaters, plus the Fox Bay Cinema Grill in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, have cancelled plans to show the football game in their theaters. While showing NFL games is a common practice in many movie theaters across the country, those showings are able to be done because they are flying under the radar of the NFL. More than likely, a feature article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on December 26, 2007 about theaters playing football games for happy fans probably didn't help with that flying-under-the-radar thing...

The reasons cited by the NFL for the clampdown is that local TV stations feel that it hurts their ratings when businesses gather so many people together to watch the game. I don't buy it, and to me, it sounds a lot like antiquated licensing practices and paranoid television station execs are the real reason you can't go and watch the game with 300 people you may or may not know. If you don't like it, call your local TV station and complain. It was done in their name!

As for me, I'll be enjoying the playoff game from the comfort of my own couch and in all its 100-inch-wide high definition glory! While it doesn't replace the experience of being at Lambeau Field, it will certainly be warmer!

Oh, and just to keep in the spirit of things... This article is copyrighted by The BigScreen Cinema Guide for the private use of our audience, and any other use of this article or web site or of any pictures, descriptions or accounts of the article without our consent is prohibited. So there.

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Jan 14, 2012 - BigScreen Reader  

Don't tell me that the NFL isn't a monopoly. If the game is sold out, showing it at the theater should be allowed as part of the BLACKOUT rules. I'm getting tired of all the NFL bullsh-- and beginning not to view in so much. 

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