SBD/October 30, 2013/Media

Judge's Order Allows Astros To Pursue New TV Partner Amid CSN Houston Bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur yesterday “authorized the Astros to negotiate with third parties on a new business plan for Houston Regional Sports Network, the troubled Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership” that owns CSN Houston, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Isgur signed what he “described as ‘a pretty extraordinary’ three-page order that was accepted in a rare show of unanimity among the fractious network partners.” Isgur’s order “has no apparent immediate effect on efforts to line up carriage agreements with DirecTV, Suddenlink or AT&T U-verse.” However, it frees Astros Owner Jim Crane to “negotiate with parties such as Fox and DirecTV across a wide range of services and scenarios that could impact the future of the Astros and Rockets on TV.” Any agreements "into which the Astros enter on the network’s behalf, such as carriage deals or the sale of a portion of the partnership to a third party, are subject to the court’s approval.” Isgur’s order “places on hold the Astros’ motion to dismiss the involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed Sept. 27 by four Comcast affiliates and Comcast’s motion to name an interim trustee.” The order also “leaves in place the network’s carriage agreement with Comcast, the largest cable carrier in Houston, which will be a critical asset to bidders” (CHRON.com, 10/29).
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