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Why the “Go Pack Go” Act Makes Sense

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Why the “Go Pack Go” Act Makes Sense

It’s week 15 of the NFL season and your beloved Green Bay Packers are about to battle the Washington Redskins.  The Packers are in a heated division race that is coming down to the wire and this road game is crucial.  You’ve spent all morning preparing for the game.  The drinks are cold, the snacks are prepped and your family is all dressed up in their favorite green and gold gear.  Suddenly, you look at the clock and realize it is 11:55 am.  You race to the TV to turn on your local FOX station and as it comes back from commercial, you see the Minnesota Vikings running from the tunnel at US Bank Stadium and the purple-clad fans screaming in joy to watch their team take on the Chicago Bears. 

At this point, you grab your remote control and quickly flip the station to CBS in hopes that the Packers game, in an NFC matchup, is for some reason being carried on CBS.  As your television arrives there, you see Phil Simms rambling about Tom Brady’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins defense while the camera pans over Gillette Stadium.  At this point, panic sets in.  You subscribe to cable so there are no alternate stations that the Packers game would come on.  Questions begin to surface in your mind and you realize that you will not be able to watch your Packers in a pivotal December game.  Now you scramble to think about other options.  Do you pack up the family to head to Joe’s Bar in town to see if he has the game on?  Or, do you just tune into the Packers Radio Network and listen to Wayne and Larry?  While certainly not a bad option, you really wanted to watch the game and now, unfortunately, you can’t.

While many Packers fans in the state of Wisconsin haven’t had to live the dreaded reality above, some certainly have.  Having been through it myself when living in a border county in a Twin Cities television market, I can say firsthand that it really stunk.  And while this may be the first time you realize that this may be a new reality moving forward when the Packers and the local market team play at the same time on the same scheduled network, you slowly learn that you need to make alternative plans to watch the Packers play in the future when this happens again.

Recently, United States Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced the “Go Pack Go” bill that would require cable and satellite providers to give Wisconsin customers access to programming for the Packers games when they would normally be considered out of the market for the game.  How it sits now, there are 13 counties in the state of Wisconsin that are in media markets that sit outside of the state of Wisconsin.  12 of those counties fall into Minnesota markets and one falls into a Michigan market.  In those counties, when the Packers play at the same time as the home market team on the same network, Packers fans are forced to watch the home market team or make alternative plans for watching the game.  The total population that could be impacted in these counties is over 400,000 people.

Keeping politics and allegiances to a party aside, the bill just makes plain sense for Packers fans that live in the border states that are considered part of an outside market.  Similar bills have been introduced in the past by both parties, but they have fallen through without gaining much traction.  Hopefully, it is now time to make this right for fans in these counties.

Packers fans that live outside of the state of Wisconsin, and there sure are plenty of you out there, have to make other arrangements to watch their team play each and every weekend when they’re not nationally televised.  Packers’ themed bars and restaurants are all over the globe to watch games at and the NFL Sunday ticket is always an option, albeit an expensive one.  But for fans that live within the border of the state, taking these measures when other fans in the state do not have to is just plain ridiculous and this bill could potentially make a lot of Packers fans happy.

The toughest aspect about passing this bill comes down to logistics with the cable and satellite providers and how they could potentially broadcast the games based on where a household is located.  Particularly for customers that receive a digital signal via an antenna from their local station, border residents only have the option of picking up a signal from the nearest station.  For these residents, the closest signal comes from the Twin Cities, MN, Duluth, MN or Marquette, MI.  The “providing access to programming” in the bill may mean that networks in these border markets will be required to air a separate channel with both games.

Logistics aside, there just has to be a way to make this right for fans that live in the border counties in the markets that fall outside of the state.  Of course, many Vikings and Lions fans call these counties home as well but their numbers don’t compare to the total number of Packers fans in the same area.  I’ll remain hopeful that my fellow Packers fans will be able to watch their beloved team in the future without any extra time, effort or money spent.  Besides, we want to leave that to the Vikings fans anyway.

________________________

Ryan Brunner is an avid Packers fan hailing from Chippewa Falls, WI.  He is a firm believer that punters are NFL players too!  Follow him on Twitter @brunwardo

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (61) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Cubbygold's picture

The NFL is such a successful brand, yet they choose to leave money on the table by not offering better access to games. I live in Rochester, MN. There are a number of games I won't get to see each year. I'm originally from Chicago and follow the Cubs. I can see every Cubs game through a <$100 subscription to mlb.tv. Why can't the NFL do that? I'd pay good money to get that access.

DirectTV claims to offer this service, but they don't actually offer full coverage. If I order the 'sunday ticket' I still miss multiple Packer games due to zoning.

sorry for the rant. knowing I'm going to be stuck watching bears/lions or vikings/redskins while the pack are playing gets me frustrated

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The problem is the billions the NFL gets from TV networks. Those networks want all sorts of rules in the contract about where the content goes, and the contracts are for really long periods of time.

holmesmd's picture

Just watch NFL REDZONE. It’s vey good

Jonathan Spader's picture

Nfl gamepass

Tarynfor12's picture

It's called the Internet....you pay for it's use and anything that you can search...you can utilize.

marpag1's picture

I don't even live in the Western Hemisphere, and I see every single Packer game without fail, not to mention ALL other games... live or recorded, full version, condensed or coaches film, until the next season begins.

www,nflgamepass.com/en

Tarynfor12's picture

Try this which is on the internet...
https://www.nflfullhd.com/category/green-bay-packers/

marpag1's picture

Yeah. Game Pass is streamed on the web, too. Plus there are a lot of 'bootleg' sites if you search around a little bit.

Tarynfor12's picture

GamePass costs $100.00...this one has replays and free but I have about 6 sites that are free and watch every/any game live free. In Las Vegas , the LA Dodgers are an out of market unless you have Sportsnet and pay through the nose...yet, I haven't missed a game or any game I want to watch...live and free.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"I don't even live in the Western Hemisphere"

So your not in an NFL market. The complex content ownership rules do not apply there.

4EVER's picture

I highly recommend the condensed coaches film!!!

Koosh's picture

I was stuck in Iron Mountain MI for 6 years. Charter up there ran a vote for lions or Packers. Packers won, so they show us over the lions games if they overlap.

Johnblood27's picture

sorry pack fans, i oppose legislation on this type of issue.

government doesnt belong in this equation IMO.

dobber's picture

I tend to agree.

stockholder's picture

I agree with you both.

Tarynfor12's picture

Got to love those who think the Government should run/dictate how to run everything...it's been proving to be a well oiled machine.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Because the corporations are SO much better? Feel free to contact your Senators and let them know that you disagree. I do it all of the time. I fact, I've asked them to NOT run/dictate certain things, and in some cases, they actually have not.

WKUPackFan's picture

She's more than happy to have the government run/dictate what consenting adults can do in their own bedrooms, or what a woman can do with her own body. She supports any government involvement in people's private lives that fits her perverted "moral" agenda.

Tarynfor12's picture

Wrong again as usual ...keep trying...you might read me correctly some time....though you're apparent dislike of me makes you a very biased person and will always see what you want.

Can't wait to read how to decipher this reply.

WKUPackFan's picture

Well, feel free to declare your support for LGBT rights and a woman's right to control her own body. I'm guessing that such a public proclamation would get you drummed out of your evangelical cult.

Bearmeat's picture

Take it easy, WKU.

WKUPackFan's picture

Bearmeat, I understand that Taryn is a long time poster (who you recently crossed swords with as I recall). I also understand that my comment can be interpreted as being pro-abortion, and that people have strong feelings about that. Perhaps there are also some evangelicals out there who object to their true intentions being called out.

However, Taryn recently outed herself as an alt-right extremist. She posted a lengthy diatribe declaring her fealty to Putin's little buddy, and thus to his policies, rhetoric, and personal actions that demean women, minorities, the LGBT community, and people of other national origins. She placed herself firmly in the racist camp with Peth and 4EVER.

These charlatans do not understand, or care to engage in, logical debate. The only thing that they understand is blunt force calling out exactly what they are and what their goals are: They are fake conservatives and fake Christians, who are bent on remaking a country that stands for liberty for all, and protects us of from a government established religion, into an evangelical oligarchy that values white male heterosexuals born here over all others.

Bearmeat's picture

You're right that I got into a tiff with Taryn recently, but I'm not objecting to your personal opinions about Taryn. I have mine about her as well (although in her particular case, it's not so much her opinions as her hard-headedness that bothers me). What I object to is the labeling of an entire group of people. I've met plenty of Christians who are bigots. And I've met plenty of atheists who are bigots too.

It's just my opinion, but I think generalizing about people tends to result in more poo-flinging and incorrect arguments, and only makes things worse.
Also, while I have plenty of opinions on politics and religion, I think it's wise to keep those hot-potato topics away from our talk about the beloved green and gold. That's why we're all here.

WKUPackFan's picture

I hear you Bearmeat, thanks for the reply. Let me be clear, I am not labeling traditional Christians affiliated with mainstream religions. Almost all of them are caring individuals who follow Jesus's teaching of love and compassion for all.

My objection is to the evangelicals who misrepresent the Gospel by preaching hate for their fellow man. They are the descendants of the snake handlers and people who claimed to speak in tongues, the people true Christians used to shake their heads at. No doubt there are a few good people associated with the evangelical movement, but their voices are being drowned out by the hate mongers.

4EVER's picture

"Because the corporations are SO much better?" Classic...taryn makes a point of far reaching political moves...and the left counters with those evil corporations. And yes, government regulated corporations are SO much better.

NashvilleCheesehead's picture

Government is already involved up to their eyeballs. When there is big money, big government is sure to follow....

4EVER's picture

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

January 20, 1981: From Reagan's Inaugural Address.

It's as true today as it was in then, but with a much larger amount cash.

Let's remind ourselves that we are 20+ trillion, I repeat, 20+ trillion in debt.

Spock's picture

4EVER, I don't have a dog in this fight, but when you start quoting Reagan and then talk about the deficit, let me remind you that Reagan's tax cuts did nothing to bring down the debt. Let me remind you that Clinton actually left a balanced budget to George W. who promptly turned it into a debt. BTW I'm an independent voter and not overly political, but if you're going to bring up a huge debt after the 1% got a PERMANENT tax cut from the party who has been crying about balanced budgets during the Obama years, then is threatening to cut Medicare and Medicaid to offset said debt, your credibility with me is zero. I will now stop as this is a Packers blog, not a political one, and I apologize to my fellow commentators for going off topic.
My bad. :(

4EVER's picture

Exactly, as quoted, government is the problem. What did you miss?

I didn't start it, but glad too finish it...wherever.

Spock's picture

4EVER, Perhaps I missed your point. Seemed to me like you were defending Reagan's "trickle down economics" (i.e. Theory: Give more money to the rich and the money will, magically, trickle down to the poor smucks below them; Reality: Give the rich more money and they will invest overseas, hide accounts in off-shore accounts and then piss on the help and those who didn't have the foresight to be born rich. Trickle down theory in a nutshell. For real world results see what a mess Pence made of his state before agreeing to be Trump's running mate.) If I misunderstood you, I apologize. :) If you are for less government intervention we are both on the same page, lol. I used to have an office co-worker who was the polar opposite of me politically and was a religious zealot. People couldn't understand how we got along. I'd explain we had more in common then not. We both felt that government should have a balanced budget. He'd say he'd "pray for me" (I'm an atheist) and I'd say that he'd have a big surprise if there really was a heaven and when he'd meet God SHE WOULD BE BLACK, lol. Oh, shoot, I meant to stay away from politics and religion here. I have a bad habit of commenting when my pain meds are kicking in. :) Not trying to start anything with you. Let's get back to the Packers.

4EVER's picture

Correct; dramatically less government intervention the better. Wrong; "Reagan's tax cuts did nothing to bring down the debt". Taxes have notta to do with debt.

The rhetoric is easily countered by the evidence. Under President Reagan, federal revenues increased even with tax cuts, federal spending did not decrease, the country experienced the longest period of sustained growth during peacetime in its history, and the rich paid more taxes proportionately than they had before the tax cuts were implemented.

Critics of reducing taxes claim that the Reagan tax cuts drained the U.S. Treasury. The reality is that federal revenues increased significantly between 1980 and 1990:
Total federal revenues doubled from just over $517 billion in 1980 to more than $1 trillion in 1990. In constant inflation-adjusted dollars, this was a 28 percent increase in revenue.
As a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP), federal revenues declined only slightly from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 1990.
Revenues from individual income taxes climbed from just over $244 billion in 1980 to nearly $467 billion in 1990. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this amounts to a 25 percent increase.

Federal spending more than doubled, growing from almost $591 billion in 1980 to $1.25 trillion in 1990. In constant inflation-adjusted dollars, this was an increase of 35.8 percent.
As a percentage of GDP, federal expenditures grew slightly from 21.6 percent in 1980 to 21.8 percent in 1990.
Contrary to popular myth, while inflation-adjusted defense spending increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 1989, it was curtailed when the Cold War ended and fell by 15 percent between 1989 and 1993. However, means-tested entitlements, which do not include Social Security or Medicare, rose by over 102 percent between 1980 and 1993, and they have continued climbing ever since.
Total spending on all national security programs never equaled domestic spending, even when Social Security, Medicare, and net interest are excluded from domestic totals.

Reagan's debt in a nut shell: defense spending, previous administrations reverse bracket creep, recession flux caused by the Federal Reserve and the dramatic increase in entitlement spending.

Reaganomics in a nutshell: look at all this money coming in, more money, more money, spend, spend, and spent it they did. One of the few things government does well.

Now back to the Packers!

WKUPackFan's picture

Please stop citing and quoting President Reagan to promote your hate filled agenda. President Reagan advocated for a big tent, a Republican party and conservative movement that welcomes and embraces all people, including women, minorities, the LGBT community, and immigrants. For example, President Reagan appointed the first female to the Supreme Court.

Mainstream Republicans/conservatives have fought against the myth that President Reagan had a "Southern Strategy" for over 20 years. You alt-right extremists are destroying all of that hard work by trying to appropriate the traditional Republican/conservative mantle to promote your bigotry. President Reagan denounced all forms of bigotry. He would have eloquently and succinctly denounced your ilk.

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

Government is the reason it is set up this way. It all comes down to advertising dollars. The government is the one who set the boundaries for the local channel access. They could change it a number of different ways but haven't. The reason is because it affects relatively few people. Superior, WI is the biggest town it affects and that's around 25,000 people. Iron County has less than 6,000. Unless everyone makes a whole lot of noise, it will not change

PatrickGB's picture

I am in Canada, and most sites won’t let me access them from here. Not even radio. Because the government says so.
Ah, the joys of government controls...
Any tips?

Tarynfor12's picture

Are you referring to Internet sites?

jeremyjjbrown's picture

VPN.

Chris Scoggins's picture

I'm reasonably certain that such a law would be unconstitutional.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm reasonably certain you have not read/understand the Constitution. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce.

For the record I am not for this law, the NFL should stop signing stupid contracts that limit their own streaming content. But, the TV airwaves are publicly owned, and the FCC licenses companies to use them, in order to do so they must provide benefit to the people who actually own them (the US citizens). That is why "Public Service Announcements" exist.

Chris Scoggins's picture

The 1st Amendment prevents Congress making laws that abridge freedom of speech. SCOTUS has routinely found that includes both forbidding speech and compelling speech
See:
Miami_Herald_Publishing_Co._v._Tornillo
Wooley_v._Maynard

SCOTUS has found that restrictions on advertising is allowed on broadcast airwaves, but only if they meet certain tests including whether speech was legal, served a substantial government interest, and whether the law supported the purpose and was minimally applied to serve that purpose.
See:
United States v. Edge Broadcasting Co

There are a slew of cases restricting the government can limit even on property that it wholly owns.
See:
City_of_Cincinnati_v._Discovery_Network,_Inc.

So next time you decide to be a jerk on the internet you should make sure you actually know what you are talking about.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I might believe that I have a God-given right to watch Packer games for free if I live in the territorial limits of Wisconsin, but I can't discern any legitimate governmental interest served by the proposed statute. If the NFL wished to put restrictions on the ability of the broadcaster to choose which game to air to which end-users based on physical location, it should do so in its contract.

I believe that such a statute would face an uphill road to be deemed constitutional. I suspect that is in part why previous attempts made by members of both main parties have not been enacted.

Bearmeat's picture

This is the reality for those of us who live outside the state as well. I've lived out of the state since the fall of 1999.

IMO the government doesn't belong in the equation. Besides, cable TV is a thing of the past. What really needs to happen is that the NFL needs to allow you to purchase whatever games you want via streaming. It's pathetic that the richest sports league in the world doesn't have a streaming option. I would purchase the entire league if I could every year - and it would STILL be cheaper than DirecTV, which, outside of Sunday Ticket, straight up sucks and is extremely expensive.

I do my best to follow even stupid laws as much as I can. So after we ditched DirecTV in 2010, I have been going to BDubs about 8 Sundays a year. Ugh. But I don't blame others one bit for bootlegging games. It only makes sense with the NFL's idiocy.

marpag1's picture

I hate myself just a little bit for putting money into Roger Goodell's pocket, but I do have to recommend Game Pass. I live in Africa and don't even own a TV .... there's only so much BBC or Nigerian soap operas that a guy can handle .... but I can get every single NFL game of the entire season for $125, or you can choose your team for something like $80. A full regular season is about 750 hours of football, and you can watch or rewatch everything for 12 months, including the condensed and coaches versions. Not that bad a deal, really.

Bearmeat's picture

Game Pass is blocked for people that live in the USA, marpag. I'd totally do that if I could.

American born and bred mid 30's white guys like me are the NFL's bread and butter. And the owners know it. So guys like me have to pay the most to get the same service. The owners are more interested in spreading their product to Africa (even if it is to US Citizens who happen to live in Africa) than they are to Georgia.

marpag1's picture

Ah. My bad. I didn't know it was blocked in the USA. I wonder if you could get on with a proxy or VPN.

Bearmeat's picture

Probably. But that still would be breaking US Law. I'm not calling anyone else out, but I try to follow the laws even when they're unenforceable and stupid. That's also why I don't judge anyone who decides differently in this situation. The owners don't need more money, and they're they only ones being hurt. And did I mention that the policy is STUPID?

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I tried that and your CC number gives you away.

Bearmeat's picture

Hey Marpag, why don't you just share your Nigerian CC number with all of your Packer friends! ;)

marpag1's picture

If by CC number you mean credit card, I have a credit card from a bank in USA and the personal address associated with the card is my stateside power of attorney's address, which is in Wisconsin. None of that causes me any problem when signing up for Game Pass.

But otherwise, yeah, I'd gladly share my card number.... ;)

And I don't live in Nigeria. It's just that they export those damn soap operas all around the continent. lol

Bearmeat's picture

LOL!

Tarynfor12's picture

No it isn't....Game Pass is $99.99...it's replay..not Live.

Sunday Ticket is Live games and is available if you have Direct TV for the low cost of an arm and a leg.

Bearmeat's picture

Taryn, overseas it's one and the same. Actually, everywhere but the US....

marpag1's picture

Yes, my Game Pass subscription streams the games live, and also records the games as well (in various formats).

Tarynfor12's picture

My bad...did not know that...all the more reason to watch it via internet site.

Jonathan Spader's picture

NFL Game Pass does not include live regular season, playoff, or Super Bowl game broadcasts. Access to these games is available within NFL Game Pass on an on-demand basis in the NFL Game Pass archives. Audio feeds may be subject to availability. 2009 Preseason games are not available. NFL Game Pass is only available to users within the United States, Bermuda, Antigua, the Bahamas, and any U.S. territories, possessions and commonwealths (including American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands). For a full description of features, requirements, limitations, and other information, visit our FAQ at NFL.com/help/GamePass

I haven't bought the game pass although I have had the NFL ticket through direct TV. Game pass won't let you watch the game live but you can replay it at any point is the way I understand it.

marpag1's picture

Almost nothing of what you say above is true for me, but as I mentioned a few posts up, I live outside the US. I DO get live games, including all preseason and postseason.

It seems that there are several different versions of "Game Pass."

Spock's picture

Bearmeat, "Besides, cable TV is a thing of the past." Well, I'm a 'thing of the past" since I don't watch TV other than cable (I'm not particularly computer savvy and wouldn't have a clue how to connect my TV to the internet) and can't get Direct TV because of my condo location. I also can't go watch the games at a Packers friendly bar (there's one just across the street) because of my physical issues so I typically just listen to the game on Sirius radio with Wayne and Larry if I can't get it (often, I hate you FOX) because the local AZ game is on at the same time or some "major" West Coast game is on instead. I have the NFL red zone, which sucks since it doesn't show the whole game. I would love, love, love for the NFL to sell team games. I watch NOTHING besides the Packers games on the NFL and would be happy to pay to just do that. Sigh. :(

Bearmeat's picture

Makes sense. Sorry, man.

NashvilleCheesehead's picture

The controversy over the national anthem rears it’s head, Go Pack Go legislation.... please let the season start soon!!!

Don Hutson's picture

I live in western Montana. Lots of Packer Fans out here, but.. . Sports bars are the alternative to a very expensive Sat. package.

4thand10's picture

I cut the cable long ago and I was glad I did. I mounted a DTV antenna on the roof and then got Netflix and Hulu. I’m still researching sling .But Anyways, back to the Packers. Games that I don’t get over the air just encourages me to get out to the Sportsbars. I don’t drink much, but eating wings and watching with friends is fun. I can definitely see how it would be a problem for elderly or homebound people though and I don’t see why those folks should pay ridiculous amounts to watch football.

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

The majority of the affected areas are very densely populated. There are no sports bars. Where my cabin is in Iron County we would have to go roughly 35 miles to ashland to watch a game sometimes. The small local bars can't afford the Sunday Ticket, because bars pay thousands of dollars for the ticket. The same thing affects Vikings fans who get LaCrosse local channels in that area. There are some very common sense solutions that the government and TV providers can make happen. They are already in place for other programming. When tax dollars pay for sports, the people have a right to watch

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