WASHINGTON -- Baseball's current rules on territorial television blackouts were drawn up in the 1960s, long before the dawn of MLB.TV and the Extra Innings package. Those rules have become archaic, and Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, presented a plan to MLB's executive council on Wednesday that would alter them considerably for the 2009 season. DuPuy doesn't expect action to be taken until the final quarterly meetings of MLB's owners, which will take place in November. For now, he has presented a plan in which blackouts would be lifted in the areas in which no local broadcast operator carries the games of a specific MLB team.
"If a market is underserved," DuPuy said, "and a club is not broadcasting, either over the air or through cable, or attempting to do so, it would be opened up to the out-of-market packages." Currently, in cities on the periphery of MLB's individual territories, blackouts are commonplace. As an example, none of the teams from cities within a four-hour drive of Las Vegas -- Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, San Francisco and San Diego -- regularly have their games broadcast there. Yet games played by those teams are blacked out in Vegas. That wouldn't be the case under DuPuy's plan. That plan, however, is not ready for a vote, because DuPuy is still collecting TV contract information from each of the 30 clubs. "I didn't expect any action to be taken [Wednesday]," DuPuy said. "There didn't appear to be any opposition moving forward."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.