SBD/October 8, 2013/Media

Astros Ask For CSN Houston Bankruptcy Dismissal, Claiming "Bad Faith" By Comcast

The Astros yesterday asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur "to dismiss an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed Sept. 27" against Houston Regional Sports Network, the parent of Comcast SportsNet Houston, "describing efforts to restructure the Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership as a 'road to nowhere,'" according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Isgur on Oct. 28 "will decide whether to dismiss the case filed by four Comcast affiliates." The Astros said that the RSN is "solvent and claim Comcast 'orchestrated the filing in bad faith' to gain a 'tactical advantage over the Astros.'" The team also said that the RSN "did not pay rights fees due July 31 and Aug. 30 and that the ballclub informed Comcast it would retake its broadcast rights Sept. 30 if it was not paid by Sept. 29." The Astros said that the bankruptcy filing is an effort by Comcast to "gain control over the Astros’ most valuable asset, the media rights" to televise their games. They said that Comcast has "tried to force the Astros to accept 'a handful of informal verbal proposals' for carriage deals." NBC Sports Group officials, whose company manages CSN Houston, yesterday had no comment (CHRON.com, 10/7).

CHEERING FOR SOLVENCY: In San Antonio, W. Scott Bailey writes, "If you are a baseball fan, now is a good time to root for Comcast SportsNet Houston to pick itself up by the bootstraps and avoid an economic dismantling." The Astros and Rangers "compete for television exposure" in San Antonio. However, if CSN Houston "goes under," the city "could get another heavy dose of Astros games." Bailey: "If you love baseball and despise an owner who is clearly in it for the money, fans be damned, then you have to cross those fingers and toes and pray that [Astros Owner Jim] Crane doesn't get out of the CSN Houston deal, and that he doesn't find a way to knock Texas' better baseball team off of San Antonio TV" (SAN ANTONIO BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/4 issue).
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