Astros Accuse CSN Houston Of Using Bankruptcy To Cheat Team Out Of Revenue
Comcast and the Astros yesterday "traded tartly worded legal documents in their struggle over the future" of CSN Houston, with "less than two weeks to go before an Oct. 28 court hearing that could decide the fate of the network and its 130 employees," according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The Astros "accused Comcast of using bankruptcy court as a 'smoke screen' for plans to cheat the ballclub out of its share in Houston Regional Sports Network, the Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership that owns CSN Houston." Meanwhile, four Comcast-affiliated companies said that if Judge Marvin Isgur "dismisses the bankruptcy case, the network faces 'near-term, fire-sale liquidation.'" Comcast attorneys wrote, "If this bankruptcy case goes forward, the business can survive. If the case is dismissed, it will not." Comcast added of the Astros possibly being allowed to shop their games to another carrier, "At best, the network’s remaining assets would be sold in a fire sale. All of its 130 employees will lose their jobs." Meanwhile, Barron reported the Astros' argument "in favor of dismissing the case includes a couple of revelations." In one case, it states the Rockets and Astros "have the right as of the network’s first anniversary, which was Oct. 1, to force Comcast to accept carriage agreements." The Astros said that Comcast "does not have that right and is making an improper bid to expand its authority." They added that the team and Comcast "agreed in May to make capital contributions to the network, payable in three installments." But Comcast "refused to make its third contribution unless all three partners agreed, and the Rockets 'elected to secure an appraisal of the network prior to making a funding decision'" (CHRON.com, 10/15).