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Comcast SportsNet Houston


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#241 OFFLINE   Snickering Hound

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 11:40 AM

Astros owner Crane worries about CSNH's financial pinch

 http://www.chron.com...p#ixzz2TfPuBIp7

 

By David Barron

May 18, 2013

As Comcast SportsNet Houston approaches its ninth month without full distribution, the Astros/Rockets/NBC Sports Group partnership is low on funds and faces "tough decisions" about its future, Astros owner Jim Crane said Friday.

 

Crane said the network does not face irreparable financial damage and will remain on the air, but the partners might have to make financial decisions if NBC is unable to increase revenue by closing carriage deals with national carriers such as DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse or regional carriers such as Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable.

 

Without coverage, the network is not making money and so without the other (carriers) signing up and paying, there are things that can happen as the entity draws down on its credit," Crane said. "As that goes on, we run out of money, and we are going to have to make some tough decisions.

 

"There are mechanisms for that in the plan. We're not going to go bust or anything, but basically it becomes more difficult for everybody to operate if we don't get coverage."

He said all options are on the table for the network owned by the Astros (46.4 percent), Rockets (30.9 percent) and NBC (22.7 percent).

 

"There are rights fees involved, there is equity involved, there is long-term viability, overhead costs, and all of those things are in play," Crane said. "It is what it is. It's a business deal, and we've got to get it to a point where it makes good sense for everybody and move forward."

 

Meeting with mayor

Crane and Rockets CEO Tad Brown are scheduled to meet Monday with Mayor Annise Parker and with representatives of Suddenlink, which services Kingwood, Humble and several cable systems across Texas and the five-state area serviced by CSN Houston, on carriage talks for the network.

 

CSN Houston is available in about 40 percent of Houston's 2.2 million TV households, and an offer to providers for a free-view period through the end of May was picked up by only a few local carriers in the Houston area.

 

Crane will assume the Astros' position on the four-member CSN Houston board that was held by George Postolos, who resigned Monday as Astros president and CEO.

 

Crane acknowledged that carriage pickup rates for CSN Houston, which launched in October, "certainly hasn't gone like we wanted it to."

 

"We want to get fans to see the games," he said. "What they have to understand is there's big economics here, and it's not only for this year or next year. It's a long-term deal.

 

"If we cut a bad deal moving forward, it will have significant impact for us competing against the Rangers and Angels and Mariners. So we are really focused to get the games on as soon as we can, but we also are focused on the long-term credibility and viability financially against our competitors, and the TV deal is a big part of that."

 

West tough in TV, too

The American League West could be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball in that regard. The Rangers and Angels have deals with Fox Sports Net that include equity interests in their respective regional sports networks - Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports West - and the Mariners announced plans to form an RSN partnership with their carrier Root Sports, owned by DirecTV.

 

Rights fees are in play, as are future equity exchanges.

 

Brown had no comment on Crane's remarks but added the Rockets "completely agree with Jim that the single most important issue we both face is and remains securing network carriage for our fans."

Matt Hutchings, CSN Houston's president and general manager, referred questions to NBC Sports Group officials. Officials had no comment, but all signs point toward NBC's long-term support for CSN Houston's success.


 

 

 

 



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#242 OFFLINE   dstout

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 12:24 PM

Am I wrong to infer, that shutting CSN Houston down is possible?



#243 OFFLINE   jagrim

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 01:14 PM

Am I wrong to infer, that shutting CSN Houston down is possible?


I doubt if CSN Houston will shut down. After reading the article this am, I believe this to be a shift in the strategy of CSN negotiations that began when Postolos resigned this week.

#244 OFFLINE   Snickering Hound

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 02:18 PM

Am I wrong to infer, that shutting CSN Houston down is possible?

I'd think its more likely they'd have to cutback big on expenses.

 

They have a big studio in the trendy downtown Houston GreenStreet (Formerly known as Houston Pavilion) development that employs 150 people that can go away.

 

They might also take the station to part time like it was in the Fox Sports Houston days with just the games and the pre and post game show.

 

I'm getting the impression though that Crane, now that he is a board member, is probably shocked at just how much CSN Houston is hemorrhaging money.


Edited by Snickering Hound, 18 May 2013 - 02:30 PM.


#245 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 02:20 PM

Sounds like deals are much more likely. Maybe shorter term to get on the air and get some money coming in.

This could be a big lesson for money hungry teams.
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#246 OFFLINE   SChonson

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:34 PM

Still ain't happening.



#247 OFFLINE   sdk009

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

http://www.awfulanno...nal-bubble.html

 

Good article on how Comcast, the Astros, and the Rockets have totally over-played their hand when it comes to CSN Houston. Fans in Houston are telling the other carriers NOT to pick-up the channel and perhaps this is why George Postolos, the Astros’ president and CEO who kept harping on about “fair market rate” for the channel, resigned from his position on Monday.



#248 OFFLINE   SChonson

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:25 PM

I only want it for Rockets' games. Seeing as how they're my favorite team in sports. I never cared for the Texans and the Astros are doing awful.



#249 OFFLINE   jagrim

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:43 PM

I only want it for Rockets' games. Seeing as how they're my favorite team in sports. I never cared for the Texans and the Astros are doing awful.


I also like the Rockets but not enough to pay more to watch them. I caught a few games on TNT and that satisfied my fix. As far as the Astros, they are that bad but they play some teams I wouldn't mind seeing but not enough to pay more.

Been thinking about dropping the Sports Pack as the value is not really there anymore. Like I have previously said, I think a deal will be cut but the timing is up in the air. Until then, we'll just watch the Rangers when we need the baseball fix.

#250 OFFLINE   Snickering Hound

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 02:17 PM

I'm sure this goes for Directv as well...

 

http://blog.chron.co...nt-need-to-pay/

 

AT&T’s remarkable silence about the Comcast SportsNet Houston carriage impasse was broken, albeit briefly, on Wednesday in New York by one of the company’s top executives.

 

Jeff Weber, president of content and ad sales at AT&T Home Solutions, spoke at the Nomura Global Media Summit in New York and discussed AT&T’s attitudes toward CSN Houston, which it does not carry on U-verse, as opposed to ESPN’s Longhorn Network and upcoming SEC Network, which it carries or plans to carry.

 

According to a report by the industry website FierceCable.com, Weber said AT&T was able to use data based on the viewing habits of subscribers to determine that it would not lose subscribers by refusing to carry the network owned by the Rockets, Astros and NBC Sports group.

 

“It’s very clear that the viewership in that particular market was low, so we didn’t need to pay the rates that were asked,” he said.

 

The SEC, by comparison, offers “dramatically higher” levels of interest, which Weber said prompted AT&T to move quickly to sign up for the new channel.

 

Elsewhere, there’s nothing new on the CSN Houston carriage front. A scheduled meeting between Mayor Annise Parker and representatives of Dish Network this week was postponed and has yet to be rescheduled. Dish was to be the third carrier, following Suddenlink and AT&T, to meet with the mayor and network representatives.

 

Also, we’re coming to the end of the month-long “free view” of the network that was carried on several smaller cable systems in the Wharton, El Campo and Bay City areas.

 

We’ll see what happens on that front once the free period expires and we move in to June, which Astros owner Jim Crane has indicated is a critical period for the network.



#251 OFFLINE   Snickering Hound

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 07:25 PM

http://blog.chron.co...iage-solutions/

 

Crane upbeat on CSN Houston carriage solutions

 

Astros owner Jim Crane sounded another optimistic note Wednesday about the future of Comcast SportsNet Houston, telling a radio talk show he was optimistic that the network can arrange carriage deals within 30 days and “certainly” before the end of the 2013 season.

 

Crane’s comments also included a brief reference to the economics of the network owned by the Astros, Rockets and NBC Sports Group. He said the partners had infused more cash into the enterprise “and that will run out again and ultimately we’ll have to make a decision on which direction we’re going.”

 

The CSN Houston carriage negotiations with DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse came during a general conversation on the team between Crane and KFNC (97.5 FM) co-hosts Dave Tepper and Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon.

 

“I think something’s going to break here pretty quick,” he said. “We’re optimistic that certainly we’ll get the games on before the season ends. … We’re focused on it. We work on it every day and have been exchanging details in conversations with Comcast almost weekly, and so something, I think, will develop within 30 days.”

 

Crane repeated the team’s stance that settling for a lesser monthly carriage fee than what the Astros feel the market commands will hurt its long-term chances of fielding a team that can compete and spend money on payroll at the same rate as the Rangers and Mariners.

 

“Something’s going to break here pretty soon,” he said.


Edited by Snickering Hound, 12 June 2013 - 07:26 PM.


#252 OFFLINE   SChonson

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:50 PM

We'll see.



#253 OFFLINE   TXD16

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:07 PM

Astros owner Jim Crane sounded another optimistic note...

 

So, at this point, Crane acknowledges that CSNH is hemorrhaging cash, yet he still believes (at least publically states) that he is marketing a product comparable to the Rangers? Oh, Jim, you obviously have so much to learn about, well, pretty much everything, so for now, I'm gonna be keeping that $10,000,000 check I made out to you in my pocket.

 

As Bugs Bunny would say, "What a maroon."


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#254 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:46 AM

Rinse and repeat. He has said the same thing how many times now? His big problem is that last line, he still thinks he should get top dollar from everyone. That means nothing is going to give, and nothing is going to change. Unfortunately. I repeat somethiig now I said before, I hope DIRECTV and everyone else holds the line on all new channels, including the Dodgers next year. Time for this junk to end.

#255 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 07:27 AM

"Crane repeated the team’s stance that settling for a lesser monthly carriage fee than what the Astros feel the market commands will hurt its long-term chances of fielding a team that can compete and spend money on payroll at the same rate as the Rangers and Mariners."

Still hasn't gotten that the Astros feeling is wrong? The market is commanding them to lower the price.
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#256 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 09:40 AM

"Crane repeated the team’s stance that settling for a lesser monthly carriage fee than what the Astros feel the market commands will hurt its long-term chances of fielding a team that can compete and spend money on payroll at the same rate as the Rangers and Mariners."

Still hasn't gotten that the Astros feeling is wrong? The market is commanding them to lower the price.

 

Agreed!


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#257 OFFLINE   jagrim

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:53 AM

Crane's statement that he thinks a deal would occur within 30 days makes perfect sense. Football fever will start next month and his value will go down even more.

At my office, which has about 300-400 employes, nobody even talks of the Astros any more.

#258 OFFLINE   dstout

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 10:52 AM

What do you expect Crane to say? My team stinks and I don't think my network is worth much? 

 

I think the Astros will be good in a few years, if the projections about their farm system are correct.

 

Off topic, was the Twins network on the air,(Victory Sports?) or did they never show any games?



#259 OFFLINE   SChonson

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:44 PM

I don't care that the Astros are doing awful, I still want to watch them.



#260 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:16 PM

I don't care that the Astros are doing awful, I still want to watch them.

 

I don't care that they are doing awful either, I just want to watch the other teams playing them.   !rolling


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