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SBD/October 9, 2013/Media
Astros' Crane Says CSN Houston Carriage Proposals Were "Way Under Water"
Published October 9, 2013
TWO TO TANGO: Crane remains open to selling his equity in CSN Houston and selling his TV rights to another provider, but only "at a fair price." Crane declined to specify who a new partner might be, but said "there were other bidders for this prior to our doing this deal" with Comcast. He acknowledged, however, that any plan will require some sort of relationship with Comcast given the company's extensive distribution reach in greater Houston. A hearing on the club's move to dismiss the bankruptcy proceeding is scheduled for Oct. 28, but that date is in some jeopardy due to the federal government shutdown. The bankruptcy court at this point is certain to stay open through Oct. 17, pending further developments. Meanwhile, Crane said the club's relationship with the Rockets, also a partner in CSN Houston, is fine, and said the NBA team stands at risk of losing its equity investment as well. He said, "We're both in the same position. At this point, they're not going to get paid (rights fees) either." Crane also said the club's ongoing youth-driven rebuilding effort remains unchanged, despite the ongoing turbulence in this matter. Crane: "The plan remains the same. We're making progress, though you can't really see it yet (at the major league level). But we're staying on that course" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). Crane said of selling the Astros' TV rights, "We feel there is legitimate interest from other parties, but people will probably stay to the sideline until this piece is sorted out." He said that if the partnership "is restructured, the Astros would be interested in increasing their 46 percent share 'if we thought it was a good bargain' and that carriage agreements with Comcast, the area's largest cable provider, remain in force" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/9).
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds wrote given the RSN’s "governance issues and the hearing date of Oct. 28, it’s highly unlikely that the Oct. 30 tipoff of the Rockets season will spur any new carriage agreements in time for the start" of the '13-14 NBA campaign (MULTICHANNEL.com, 10/8).