HOUSTON – Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said on Monday that the club continues to try to find a solution to the on-going negotiations with the team’s cable carrier, Comcast SportsNet Houston.
Crane spoke after the team’s pre-camp luncheon at Minute Maid Park and indicated his willingness to come to a resolution.
“I think it’s important for everyone to understand that even the judge said that they’ve given us a lot of rotten deals, well this is a 20-year rotten deal,” Crane said. “It really affects the ability from a financial stand point for the team to compete with Seattle and the Rangers so we’re just looking for something that’s fair.”
Last week, a bankruptcy judge ruled against the Astros who were hoping to get the Chapter 11 bankruptcy motion dismissed. The parent company of CSN Houston will stay under bankruptcy court jurisdiction for the time being.
The Astros will appeal the decision as they continue to seek to get their network rights back so they can find other viable options so the team’s games can be broadcast.
“The bottom line is that we want a competitive deal so our fans can see the games. We have a contingency plan for them to see the games if this thing doesn’t work out,” Crane said. “I feel comfortable with that and baseball is behind that.”
As part of the appeal, the Houston Chronicle reported the Astros are requesting that the judge place the CSN Houston bankruptcy case on hold during the appeal phase.
As a result of last week’s ruling by the judge, the Astros, Houston Rockets and Comcast will continue to work on a reorganization plan that would allow CSN Houston to be picked up by other major cable providers such as Direct TV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse.
“We’ve always said we’d take a short term deal that works, but we can’t take a long-term, 20-year bad deal,” Crane said. “When you look at Comcast and it’s $60 billion in revenue and billions of profits, my feeling all along is that is they could have fixed this any time they wanted to.”
CSN Houston is available to fans and viewers that have Comcast and other smaller cable providers. The Astros are about to start their second season with games exclusively shown on CSN Houston. It’s a process which Crane hoped would have been taken care of by now.
“We inherited this contract, I’m not passing the blame, but we’ve been very involved and we want to get something done and we want the fans to see the game,” Crane said. “It’s important not only for this franchise, but it’s important for the Rockets and it’s important for the city.”
“You know, I’d love to get this behind us and get paid what we’re supposed to be paid. We haven’t been paid what we’re supposed to be paid,” Crane said. “The Rockets and we are really hurting and the fans are hurting.”