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Comcast SportsNet Houston

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by TravelFan1, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. TXD16

    TXD16 Icon

    Oct 29, 2008
    I was a Rangers fan many years ago when I lived in West Texas and then in Oklahoma, and even though I've lived in the Houston metro area and been an Astros fan for the past 15 years or so, given the latest utter garbage spewing from CSN Houston and Jim Crane, I have the distinct feeling that I'm going to be redeveloping that Rangers feeling, especially since they're now in the same division.
  2. tulanejosh

    tulanejosh Godfather

    May 23, 2008
    I think the Astros have lost sight of just how many transplants there are in Texas now a days. Many people - myself included - will be more than ok watching the Rangers. I live in Austin but get access to both teams (assuming directv carries the appropriate channels) so I would be watching the winning product probably anyway. I'm in Spurs territory, but it is a shame that the Rockets are impacted. It's a good young team with a bright future. Lin and Harden are a great duo.
  3. TXD16

    TXD16 Icon

    Oct 29, 2008
    The Astros are poised to set a third consecutive franchise record for losses in 2013, if not a MLB record, and yet yesterday, when asked about having the lowest payroll in MLB for 2013 at approximately $25 million (about $3 million less than Alex Rodriguez will earn alone), Jim Crane's response was an indignant, "It doesn't bother me that people want us to spend more money, but it's not their money. This is a private company, even though it's got a public flair to it. If they want to write a check for 10 million bucks, they can give me a call.” I have to wonder if he's just finally frustrated by the lack of shared RSN revenue or if he is really just the arrogant moron he appears to be.

    In any event, combined with the obvious bad-faith negotiations with the major MVPDs, this is about as big an in-your-face-fans response as I have ever seen. What a piece of work this guy is.
  4. tulanejosh

    tulanejosh Godfather

    May 23, 2008
    Just don't understand why guys like that want to own a professional sports team... with revenue sharing i guess they can make a mint - like Loria has in Miami - but it's such a shame for the community that has to suffer through guys like that. My favorite owners are the ones that do it for love of the game. If that's the way Crane sees it - i hope he never gets his deal, even if that has a negative impact on me... Like I said, I like the Rangers better anyway.
  5. tulanejosh

    tulanejosh Godfather

    May 23, 2008
    He's going to learn what kind of disadvantage this puts him at long term, when other teams are cashing in on their RSN revenue and finding ways to avoid having to contribute to revenue sharing (like the Dodgers).
  6. dstout

    dstout Legend

    Jul 19, 2005
    It is one thing to think something, but another to say it. I think that is a poor choice of words by Crane. Crane doesn't need to give his fanbase another reason to watch the Rangers.

  7. ShawnL25

    ShawnL25 Icon

    Mar 2, 2007
    Is there any hope of a deal getting done soon?
  8. TXD16

    TXD16 Icon

    Oct 29, 2008
    As my Magic 8-Ball would say, "Outlook not so good."
  9. FenixTX

    FenixTX Godfather

    Nov 11, 2005
    Usually it seems Comcast is to blame in these disputes but Comcast and DirecTV were set to agree on a deal but it was vetoed by the Astros. Believe they wanted more money per sub. Just ridiculous.
  10. Snickering Hound

    Snickering Hound Mentor

    Nov 3, 2011
    Crane on CSN Houston impasse: ‘We will not blink’

    Astros owner Jim Crane said Thursday night that as last-minute negotiations continue with DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse and other major providers over carriage deals for Comcast SportsNet Houston, “We’re not going to blink.”

    Crane’s comments on KILT (610 AM) came a few hours after CSN president and general manager Matt Hutchings said he was becoming less confident deals can be struck before CSN’s first Astros game broadcast Tuesday.

    Hutchings said talks could hinge on viewers’ willingness to call their carriers and complain about the absence of CSN Houston, which is owned by the Rockets, Astros and NBC Sports Group.

    Crane speculated that viewer pressure could bring a quick end to the impasse that has existed since the network signed on last fall.

    “One of these big carriers — Direc(TV), Time Warner, AT&T — one of them will fall into place very quickly, and the thing should move forward very fast,” he said. “We’re willing to make some concessions here. We’re not silly. We want fans to see the games.”

    He said “everybody’s aggravated, we’re aggravated, the Rockets are aggravated” about the inability to sign deals and that protests by fans to their TV providers is “where the rubber meets the road.”

    “When we saw DirecTV, they said they had only lost a few customers,” Crane said. “Well, when they lose a few thousand customers, guess what: They’re going to pay that rate pretty quick, and everything is going to start running pretty smooth.

    “Everybody is waiting until the last minute to see who is going to blink. I can guarantee you we will not blink. We’re in it for the long run. We’re in it to fix the team. We’re in it to build a winner, and this is a big part of building a winner.”

    The comments by Crane and Hutchings came a day after Mayor Annise Parker said the impasse was “intolerable” for fans.

    Hutchings said negotiators with the NBC Sports Group, which owns the network with the Astros and Rockets, have modified positions “on the important items, things that you would consider salient.”

    He said “yes” when asked if monthly subscriber fees were among those issues.

    “We have gone back and forth (with providers),” Hutchings said. “We have placed proposals in front of them, but the bottom line we are feeling is that the providers simply are just unwilling to move unless they are absolutely forced to, and that is with the fans out there and their customers demanding that they get this deal done.

    “Despite our own efforts, we are growing less optimistic by the day that we will reach agreement (by the opening series). We’re concerned with that.”

    While Hutchings declined to be specific, he provided for the first time a limited comparison and context for the network’s pricing position.

    Based on the company’s research, Hutchings said CSN Houston is seeking a lower fee for its core market in Houston than the Fox Sports Group receives from subscribers in its core Dallas-Fort Worth market for Fox Sports Southwest, which airs Rangers, Mavericks and Stars games plus Big 12 football and basketball.

    He declined to reveal that number but said the comparison shows Houston “is being treated as a second-class market” and that providers “have seen an opportunity in Houston to cut their costs and to deny fans of those two teams, and at the end of the day, the money they are collecting from Houston fans goes right into their pockets while denying fans access to these teams.

    “At the very least, the Houston fans should call their television providers and demand a reduction to their bill. They’re paying the same they did last year, but they’re not getting to watch the Astros, Rockets and Dynamo games.”

    Crane, in his appearance on KILT-AM, emphasized the importance of CSN Houston as a revenue base to help him rebuild the Astros.

    A DirecTV spokesman said the company stood by a statement last week that it wants “an agreement with the owners of CSN Houston that allows customers to choose whether they want to pay to see the games or not. We are ready and willing to have that discussion any time.”

    A spokesperson for Dish Network did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Suddenlink cable said, “We continue to search for common ground and hope we can find it.”

    An AT&T spokesman said, “As we’ve said before, we would like to make this network available to our customers, but CSN Houston is demanding a high price for the same team games that, as of last season, were available on other channels we already carry and pay for.

    “The only other major TV provider that has agreed to carry this network is Comcast, which is a partial owner of the network. We believe the extra value is not being created for the extra cost, and it seems that other major TV providers agree.”

    Crane also referred to the fact that the NBC Sports Group holds a 22 percent stake in the company.

    “Comcast NBC University is a $60 billion company with a lot of revenue and a lot of profit,” he said. “In the big scheme of things they want to see this go well, but they can afford to wait things out.

    “We’re going to stay firm and cut a good deal for the future of the team. If, in fact, we have to sacrifice a little but here, which would be unfortunate – we don’t want that – but we’ll get it done, and we want the fans to watch the games.”

    Another Crane comment in the KILT interview touched on details of previous negotiations with the providers.

    “We don’t have a firm offer in front of us as I sit here today that I’ve seen,” he said. “There was one made probably at the beginning of the launch of October that wasn’t anywhere in a near-market situation, so we said we’ll sit tight until we get a better deal.”

  11. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    Sounds like people who think their product is more in demand than it is.
  12. jagrim

    jagrim Hall Of Fame

    Aug 25, 2006
    I really wish the CSH would include their phone number so that fans could call them and complain about their perspective. I'd love to watch some Astros games on TV but will resign my fate to watching highlights on the 10 pm news. Because of poor senior management, the field product is trying to reach new lows.

    it's time to "BRING BACK DRAYTON"
  13. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    I think this is the attitude they don't get. If the product was compelling on the field, then they would get clamor. But when the "big move" by the ownership is to get a new TV contract and ask for more money, that does not sit well with a disgruntled community.

    Why not do a one year discounted contract with the providers and try to build up demand? Nah, that would make too much sense.
  14. shuye

    shuye AllStar

    Oct 20, 2008
    And the 10pm highlights will probably not take too long...

    The main argument which is not being said straightforward in the paper is this:

    CSN wants the channel to be carried by all the providers to all subscribers so they maximize revenue. The problem the providers have is that they have a current contract to carry Fox Sports Southwest which aired the Astros games last year. The providers simply cannot to my knowledge break that contract and drop Fox Sports Southwest or lower the rate they pay that channel so the providers are being forced to pay more to get the same content they were making available last year.

    If the providers could just drop and add stations based on content, I'm sure that Direcv would have done this.

    With more and more sports teams and conferences (Pac 12, SEC, etc.) developing their own networks to increase revenue, I really see this only being feasible if they agree to be on a sports pack where subscribers can opt in to see them.
  15. dxtrfn80

    dxtrfn80 Mentor

    Apr 17, 2012
    At least Astro fans will see their first 3 games of the season on DTV (1 on ESPN, 2 on FSSW (Rangers feed)) as Texas and Houston share the same territory. Without a deal the only games they will see will be when they play the Rangers and when they appear on FOX Saturday Baseball.
  16. TXD16

    TXD16 Icon

    Oct 29, 2008
    Quite obviously, Jim Crane is either a completely naive idiot or an absolute genius. Can you guess in which category I believe he falls?
  17. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    The lakers weren't on Directv for a month or so, and I am sure they get a heck of a lot more money off Lakers games than the Rockets or the Astros, based on demos and so on.

    I think Directv is done with all this and is going to hold the line indefinetly. I suspect that the Dodgers won't be on Directv next year at all, and that Huston won't be picked up by then either, unless they all drop their costs big time, or allow at least a semi a la cart or sports tier placement for these new channels. I think the Lakers channel was the last major one to make it in on the old way.

    Personally, I'm very annoyed about the new Dodgers station, and hope Directv doesn't pick them up. And I'm a dodger fan.
  18. TheRatPatrol

    TheRatPatrol Hall Of Fame

    Oct 1, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    So does this mean as the contracts come up for renewal for the current RSN's D* won't renew them unless they can put them in a sports pack or they either keep the same price or reduce it?
  19. JoeTheDragon

    JoeTheDragon Hall Of Fame

    Jul 21, 2008
    likely very market to market (may have more to due with outer rings of the RSN's and price they want and some maybe are no you must all have areas and you can't move outer parts to sports pack)
  20. jmpfaff

    jmpfaff AllStar

    Dec 12, 2004
    I'm really ticked off at Jim Crane and the Astros. I don't want DirecTV to give in on this one.

    But the CSN execs are making a big deal about the Lakers channel being picked up, and how DirecTV is showing favoritism for LA over Houston. If DirecTV is going to say this crap has to go in the Sports Pack from now on (which I wouldn't object to) -- they need to do it consistently and as an absolute rule.

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