Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Three parties interested in CSN Houston

Sports Business Journal's John Ourand has an interesting and important update regarding CSN Houston: Namely, it may actually be saved.

According to several sources, NBC Sports Group, AT&T and Fox Sports have talked with network executives about obtaining the teams’ local rights as a way to fix the problems with the RSN, which has not been able to get meaningful carriage since its launch in October 2012. The media companies’ initial offers place the value of the rights for both teams at $80 million per year, the sources said. That amount is considerably less than the $100 million the teams had been due to receive this year.

Click the link, because it's definitely worth a read, but here's basically how it shakes out:

*NBC Sports would be the easiest solution, since they already own 23% of the network. They've already apparently made an offer to run CSN Houston and pay the $100m to the Astros and Rockets they were due to receive. If the Comcast/NBC Sports Group run the network, they'll have the flexibility to make carriage deals. And remember, there is a pending merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast

*AT&T had explored bidding for the rights to the Astros and Rockets before Comcast got them, and recently offered to pick up CSN Houston in exchange for an ownership stake (which obviously didn't happen). AT&T is about to buy DirecTV, and since they obviously already have UVerse, this would cut most of Houston in on actually watching games.

*Fox Sports, according to Ourand, "has not been aggressive" in trying to obtain the Astros/Rockets rights since they lost them to Comcast. The one thing they can provide is a full carriage deal, since everybody already gets Fox Sports Southwest, but they're offering far mess money than NBC and AT&T.

*The main takeaway from this is that things are progressing, but the one thing that looks certain is that the Astros and Rockets are going to have to accept less money in exchange for wider carriage of CSN Houston. But hey, some money is better than no money.

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