Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CSN Houston in bankruptcy

Alright, so if you were following David Barron yesterday on Twitter you got to read a whole bunch of tweets that likely didn't make much sense. Well, I took the LSAT with a hangover and didn't do all that well, so who better than I to try to untangle what happened yesterday?

Soooo....what happened?
Judge Marvin Isgur approved Comcast's bid to rework CSN Houston in bankruptcy protection.

Uh-huh. And what does that mean?
Until CSN Houston can actually figure out a viable plan, they're not going to go under or get dissolved.

Why are the Astros pissed about this?
Because they want/need the money that had been promised when CSN Houston became A Thing (also notable that the previous Drayton McLane / George Postolos regime made CSN Houston A Thing). CSN Houston simply hasn't delivered the revenue that was promised, and when the Astros look and see that the Dodgers, Rangers, and Phillies are basically printing money, it hurts their feelings.

The Astros also called Comcast's "involuntary bankruptcy" move (which led to where they are now) a "power grab" so that Comcast could buy the network back on the cheap and make a shed ton of money. 

Are the Astros wrong?
Not necessarily. David Barron said, "Comcast...has expressed desire to gain complete control of the network and break up the management logjam that had held up carriage agreements that the Astros complained were harmful to CSN Houston’s future."

What did the Astros want to do instead?
The Astros wanted this case dismissed, so that they could go out and negotiate their own carriage deal -

Wait. "Carriage Deal?"
Please don't interrupt me. But "carriage deal" refers to cable/satellite providers "carrying" the network. AHEM. As I was saying, the Astros wanted to negotiate a different carriage deal without the Rockets.

Yeah, but weren't the Rockets handling the negotiations?
For the last six weeks, yes. Rockets CEO Tad Brown said in the hearing that they were under the impression that they were close to a carriage deal over the weekend, but was vague as to what happened and why.

Were the Astros fighting this alone?
No, it seems as though MLB was with the Astros on grounds of intellectual property and their own media rights - seeing as how 60% of Houston isn't able to "benefit" (quotations mine) from seeing the product on the field.

So what happens now?
Judge Isgur said the Astros can appeal his decision immediately, and hopes to get his written opinion out next week. In the meantime, one representative each from the Astros and Rockets plus two from Comcast will retain more lawyers (because if there's one thing this whole Shebang needs, it's more lawyers) for a status conference on Friday.

Do you like CSN Houston?
Me, personally? Seeing as how I live out-of-market, I was able to see between 50-60 games on CSN Houston. They run a good broadcast, and I think Julia Morales is attractive, so I'll share Jeff Balke's opinion that I hope the network succeeds because there are good people working for the network. I also want what's best long-term for the Astros. Not necessarily because  I love Jim Crane. I just want the Astros to also be printing money underneath Tal's Hill.