Astros Outline Different Needs From Rockets In CSN Houston Bankruptcy Case
Attorneys for the Astros on Thursday "outlined differences with the Rockets -- their partner in Comcast SportsNet Houston -- in a statement filed in advance of next week’s hearing on whether the network should stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy," according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The Astros "expanded on previous filings by accusing Comcast Corp. ... of being the ultimate force behind the motion by Comcast subsidiaries to force CSN Houston into bankruptcy." U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur on Monday will "hear the Astros’ motion to dismiss the involuntary Chapter 11 case filed Sept. 27 by four Comcast affiliates and Comcast’s motion to name an interim trustee for the network." The Rockets this week said that they "favor keeping Houston Regional Sports Network, the Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership that owns CSN Houston, under Chapter 11 but oppose an interim trustee." The Astros attorneys also note that Comcast, the Rockets and Astros "have different economic interests at stake." The attorneys wrote, “The Rockets’ media-rights fees are among the very highest in the NBA, enabling the Rockets to outbid other teams on high-priced free agents in an effort to compete for world championships, regardless of whether the network is profitable. The Astros are differently situated. To invest in rebuilding a championship team, the Astros must supplement their media rights payments with equity distributions from a profitable network." The filing also "addresses arguments by the Rockets that the Astros do not have proper legal standing to challenge the involuntary petition and disagrees with the Rockets’ stance on whether the Astros’ media rights agreement can be assigned to a third party, which the Astros say is not allowed" (CHRON.com, 10/24).