SBD/November 15, 2013/Franchises

Astros' Crane: TV Deal Would Boost Payroll, But Team Will Explore Other Broadcast Plans

Crane said a weekly update for the involved parties has come via conference call
The Astros, who had "the lowest payroll in the majors last season, plan to spend on their roster this offseason, adding as much as $30 million in payroll," a number which "seems to have room to grow, but only" if a deal for CSN Houston is worked out, according to Evan Drellich of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Astros Owner Jim Crane said, "We're not going to spend money we don't have. But if that comes in, we could easily move it up." Regardless of the network resolution, the Astros "aren't likely to commit to long-term deals with players because of the number of promising minor leaguers who should rise to the top this season or next." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday said that he has "been kept in the loop" about CSN Houston after Comcast/NBC Universal in September "filed an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition" against the net. Crane said that a status hearing is "scheduled for next week." The judge's order in the case "remains in place until another hearing scheduled for Dec. 12, giving Crane and the Astros at least four more weeks to make headway." Crane said that a "weekly update for the involved parties has come via conference call, including one Thursday." In perhaps a "worst-case scenario where some deal is not reached, the Astros are prepared to investigate whether an alternate means of broadcasting games is viable." Crane: "We've gone out and said that we would be hopeful that we'd be able to come up with some other type of streaming, or some other mechanism, where the fans could see the games. Once we get past this stage, if we don't get something resolved, then we'll be working on that. We haven't really put a plan together on that" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/15).
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