Letter To Detroit Lions Owner Cites The Importance Of Local Television Coverage In Building Fan Interest; Broadcasters Ask Governor Granholm, Lawmakers And Congressional Delegation For Support
The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is asking National Football League (NFL) team owners to reconsider their recent decision to ban local TV crews from sideline coverage during NFL games. The decision, made by NFL team owners at their recent spring meeting, will prevent local TV crews from capturing game action images for broadcast on news and highlight shows. “For more than 40 years, local television stations have helped build a relationship between pro football teams and their viewers,” said Karole White, MAB President and CEO. “The move to ban local TV crews from game coverage will deny viewers the unique local coverage of NFL games they've come to expect.”
In a letter, the MAB has asked Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford to reconsider the sideline ban, highlighting that Michigan taxpayers helped finance the Lions' home stadium, Ford Field, and that, “A ban on photojournalists at Ford Field would prohibit objective coverage of news events in a publicly funded facility and impede local broadcasters' mandate to serve their community.” “The NFL's sideline ban sets a troubling precedent,” said White. “Subsequent bans of still photographers and other local media will only give the NFL increased editorial control over media coverage of their sport.”
In a separate letter, the MAB has asked Governor Jennifer Granholm, state lawmakers, and Michigan's Congressional delegation for support in contacting NFL representatives seeking a reversal of the sideline ban.