In a Wed letter to NFL commish Roger Goodell, Sens Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) castigate the league for its actions related to the NFL Net/cable impasse and threaten (again) to reexamine the league’s antitrust exemption. “We are concerned the NFL member teams are using the NFL Network to restrict the output of game programming,” reads the correspondence. “We ask you to take prompt action to make games like the Patriots-Giants and Steelers-Rams games more broadly available than just on the NFL Channel.” Of particular interest to the pair is the net’s limiting of live game telecasts to “narrowly defined local markets,” an issue spotlighted last week when Comcast aired a net game via a broadcaster’s signal in both Denver and Colorado Springs. NFL Net claims the MSO’s action constituted breach of contract, arguing that Denver was the state’s only authorized over-the-air market. Specter and Leahy make it clear in the letter that the sale of broadcast rights to satellite and cable ops is not covered by the league’s antitrust immunity, and ask Goodell to provide justification for placing restrictions on game distribution. Apparently Vermonters, just like everyone else, must have access to the net’s Pats game.

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