A Wisconsin senator has introduced the Go Pack Go Act, which would guarantee that all state residents, no matter where they live, can watch Green Bay Packers game broadcasts.
Packers fans in 13 counties are assigned to an out-of-state local TV market, in either Minnesota or Michigan.
That means these Wisconsin households get Minnesota Vikings or Detroit Lions games — not Packers games — when those teams are playing at the same time.
In Wisconsin, nearly 400,000 people live in the 13 counties that have been assigned to an out-of-state market.
The Go Pack Go Act, which was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., would require cable, satellite and other video providers to provide their Wisconsin subscribers with access to programming from the broadcast television stations in a Wisconsin media market.
In the Duluth-Superior media market, this would affect Packers fans in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer counties.
In the Twin Cities media market, this would affect Packers fans in Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Barron, St. Croix, Dunn and Pierce counties.
In the Marquette, Mich., media market, this would affect Packers fans in Florence County.
When I first heard about this proposal, I rolled my eyes and felt there’s much bigger issues that should be addressed by Congress.
But, on further thought, the issue did hit home for me on numerous Packers Sundays over the years.
When I was a child growing up in Wausau, I couldn’t watch Packers home games at Lambeau Field on TV. They were blacked out because Wausau was too close to Green Bay.
Among the numerous games I couldn’t watch was the Ice Bowl, one of the most iconic games in NFL history.
As an avid 9-year-old Packers fan, I had to listen to that championship game on the radio.
Fast forward to my college days at UW-River Falls.
This is a Vikings market because we only had access to Twin Cities TV stations.
There was one tavern in River Falls that promoted carrying Packers games, but that was hit-and-miss at best.
Then my first job out of college was in St. Croix Falls, on the Minnesota border in Polk County.
Same thing there. Twin Cities television market.
Again, another tavern just outside of town promoted carrying Packers games.
You could almost make out the players through all the static.
It was very frustrating for a person that has green and gold blood flowing through his veins.
Even after I moved to Eau Claire, it was several years before Packers preseason games were televised locally.
The point is, the Go Pack Go Act may seem frivolous at first, but it does hit home for Packers fans who live near borders.