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US: Senators to NFL: end blackouts, or lose antitrust exemption

 |  October 2, 2014

After the Federal Communications Commission voted to eliminate rules that supported the National Football League’s blackout policies, reports say two Senators are demanding that the NFL end blackouts or risk having its antitrust exemption revoked.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Richard Blumental (D-CT) have reportedly wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding that the league “end blackouts once and for all [or] Congress will be forced to act.”

”The NFL has received substantial benefits from the public in the form of antitrust exemptions, a specialized tax status, and direct taxpayer dollars that subsidize football arenas and stadiums,” the letter wrote. “The provision of these substantial public benefits requires that the NFL meet basic obligations to the American public and loyal fans, and this includes abandoning rules that punish those same fans.”

The FCC voted Tuesday to end support of blackouts, which gives the NFL power to bar the broadcasting of certain games depending on location when enough tickets are not sold. Since the FCC’s vote, the NFL has refused to outright end blackouts.

The two senators proposed legislation last year that “would condition the antitrust exemption the league enjoys through the Sports Broadcasting Act on ending sports blackouts,” they said. Senators McCain and Blumenthal are now pushing for its passage, according to reports.

Full content: ARS Technica

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