DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The FCC has eliminated the ‘sports blackout’ rule that allowed restriction of television broadcasts in local TV markets.

Federal Communication Commission regulators voted unanimously on Tuesday to end federal enforcement of the rule that prevents some pro sports games such as NFL football from being broadcast locally if a game is not sold out.

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The rule was first adopted in the mid-1970s.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says NFL teams have hidden behind the rule for 40 years, but no more.

But Wheeler acknowledges it may not spell the end to sports blackouts. The NFL would still be able to privately negotiate its own rules with cable and satellite companies – those agreements just wouldn’t have the backing of the federal government.

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