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Judge grants lawsuit challenging blackout sports games

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LOCAL TV OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT; LAS VEGAS SUN OUTJohn Locher/AP

Four sports fans want games to be offered “a la carte,” meaning a fan of a particular team can buy a package that will show programming of the team without having to pay for each game.

Game on!

A lawsuit challenging blackout rules governing the broadcasts of NHL and Major League Baseball games scored Thursday when a judge granted the case class-action status.

Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling paves the way for four sports fans to argue that current all-or-nothing TV and online packages for out-of-market games represents an unfair burden on consumers.

Attorney Howard Langer is seeking a judge’s order that sports programming be offered “a la carte,” meaning a fan of the Yankees living in Florida would be able to purchase a package featuring programming on the team’s YES Network without having to pay for every league game.

Such an arrangement would undermine the lucrative deals teams have struck with regional sports networks like YES and SNY.

MLB and NHL lawyers have argued that if fans get their way, prices will probably go up for packages to see all of the leagues’ games.

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