A television cameraman checks his equipment in the rain before an AFC divisional NFL playoff football game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The NFL’s television blackout rule was outdated, and now we’ll have a chance to see if it made any difference. The NFL teams approved a suspension of its blackout rule, which stated that a team must sell out its stadium 72 hours before kickoff or else the game could not be broadcast in the home market, for the 2015 preseason and regular season. The NFL has had its blackout rule since 1973. As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Twitter, there were no blackouts in the 2014 regular season. Without the threat of a television blackout, the league will be able to see if it affects attendance figures. In the playoffs at the end of the 2013 season, three of the four games on wild-card weekend were in danger of not selling out with the local broadcast being blacked out, but all three games beat the blackout deadline. The teams scrambled to sell out, getting help from corporate partners. There has been criticism of the rule for years. Last year the FCC voted to stop government approval of blackout rules, though the NFL could still enforce blackouts through its television partners. Now that there’s no local television blackout threat, for this season at least, the NFL can see if there’s any threat to its ticket sales at the stadium. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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