Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CSN Houston update

We are, as of the precise moment in which I am typing this, 60 minutes from CSN Houston's first Astros game. Yet 60% of viewers in the Houston area - and anyone else in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and eastern New Mexico - won't be able to watch it.

Best-case scenario? You get to see the remaining 17 Rangers/Astros games on Fox Sports Southwest. This is where we are: waiting to watch Astros games on the network of our "rival." We addressed your possibilities back in February, if you need a refresher on how you're getting screwed by everybody.

KevinBassStache linked to the MLB blackout map - so if you live in any of those areas, you can't use MLB.tv, MLB Extra Innings. You have to go through some shady online tv thing that will probably steal your identity and foreclose on your house.

So what's the update? Talks between CSN Houston and DirecTV, UVerse, Suddenlink, etc. are at a "Standstill," and though there was "a little movement" today, no deal is imminent. Crane advised fans to "call and complain or switch carriers."

That seems excessive. The Astros started a network that over half of their viewing base can't see because they can't get a deal done, which is not the fans' fault. Now I have Comcast at my house, and it's fine enough, but I'm guessing that those of you who have DirecTV or UVerse or Suddenlink have it for a reason, and that there are likely termination fees you have to pay if you end your contract.

This whole thing is stupid. DirecTV is stupid, UVerse is stupid, Suddenlink is stupid, CSN Houston is stupid, and the Astros are stupid.

Fact is, if MLB didn't have such terrible blackout policies, this wouldn't be an issue. You could just pay your $20/month during the season (if you had the disposable income, of course) and get MLB.tv or $200 (!) for Extra Innings, and go about watching the Astros. But they don't, because MLB's Advanced Media doesn't seem so advanced right now.

10 comments:

Imasalmon said...

I'm willing to have patience with the Astros and CSN Houston. Afterall, with a 46% equity share, they could have the best TV contract support in MLB if they can negotiate the carriage rights well. The better the TV deal, the more money for baseball! And these carriage contracts can run 10 years or more.

Anonymous said...

Patience? Nothing about this dynamic favors patience on the part of the Astros. They have a product very few desire and seem to be in denial about that. Top it all off with a populace openly hostile to the Astros' side of the negotiation probably implies that waiting out the carriers is futile.

However, patience is needed on the carriers side as they wait for Crane to wake up and realize his product value isn't a function of what the Rangers received or what he needs for his business plan. That is some backasswards reasoning.

Bigbot said...

Those streams didn't even work yesterday...

I guess the move the AL has one advantage, being able to watch the Astros-Rangers games.

will kothmann said...

As a fan of the Texas Longhorns I am all too acquainted with TV negotiations.

Maybe we can all watch the Astros next year...maybe

96Trees said...

They could get a few thousand more viewers if they allowed those of us without cable or broadband to see a few more than the 5 games FOX has on Saturday.

Imasalmon said...

The benefits of waiting out a bigger deal extend to more than just the Astros. The Rockets and the Dynamo are both equity holders in CSN, and those teams benefit from negotiating the best carriage deal they can. And it is foolish to argue that other carriage deals don't affect the negotiations. The product isn't the Astros, the product is MLB broadcasts. The Rangers will face the same teams as the Astros this year, and that sure as heck does play into the valuation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, since you put it that way, Crane should just shoot for the Yankees's carriage fees. Why stop at the Rangers?

While he is at it, he should just ditch the dynamic pricing concept, as the Twins and the Red Sox are equal. The product is just MLB after all.

Imasalmon said...

I'm happy you agree with me.

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later Crane better realize he's pissing up a rope. He has zero leverage, and it's getting lower by the day.

Let's face it, a week from now when the Astros are 1-8 no one execpt those few of us diehards will watch this atrocity anyway.

But yeah, go ahead and hold out like you own the Yankees. Crane is going to look back upon this as the reason his franchise went under.

Anonymous said...

NBA fans had a similar situation in New Orleans. It only took them 8 years to work it out. Whey they say have patience....they mean it.