McCain, Blumenthal push to end sports blackouts

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Sens. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Benghazi report fallout | Nearly 50 dead after Istanbul attack The Trail 2016: 11 hours, 800 pages, 0 changed minds McChrystal backs McCain's Pentagon reform proposal MORE (R-Ariz.) and Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalOvernight Tech: Groups grade Clinton tech agenda | Facebook activates safety check in Istanbul | Another holdup for location data bill Senate faces critical vote on Puerto Rico Reid backs House Puerto Rico bill MORE (D-Conn.) are pushing to end sports television blackouts. 

The bipartisan pair has introduced legislation that would require professional teams to meet certain requirements — including allowing for games to be streamed online if they aren't being locally broadcast — in order to keep receiving exemptions from antitrust laws. 
 
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A sports league is currently able to use the anti-trust exemption to help negotiate media deals for all of their teams.
 
The senators have argued for years that the current blackout rules are too broad and negatively impact sports fans. The NFL announced earlier this year that it would suspend its local blackout rules for the 2015 season. 
 
But Blumenthal said that "they can choose to reverse course at any time, and fans still face blackouts in baseball, hockey and basketball."
 
McCain added that sports leagues should have to meet "basic obligations" if they want to keep the anti-trust exemption. 
 
"Blackouts can and do still occur," he added in a statement. "It’s time for Congress to pass the FANS Act and spike sports blackouts once and for all.”
 
The two senators previously introduced the legislation in 2013, but it stalled in the Judiciary Committee. Blumenthal, separately, tried to sunset the anti-trust exemption and force leagues to get it reauthorized every five years, saying that the current permanent exemption gives sports leagues a "blank check."

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