WASHINGTON - The Federal Communications Commission wants to eliminate its almost 40-year-old sports blackout rules, which serve primarily to prevent NFL games being televised in markets where the home team failed to sell out.

In a notice of proposed rule-making released yesterday, the FCC said that the economic rationale underlying sports blackout rules "may no longer be valid."

The NFL says it opposes the change.

At the time the rule was introduced in 1975, NFL teams' primary source of revenue was from ticket sales. Now most comes from TV and merchandise.

This year, the only blackouts have been the Chargers' Dec. 1 game against Cincinnati and this Sunday's Bills game against Miami.