UPDATED: Must See TV: Where in the Hell Can I Watch the Rockets if I Don't Have Comcast?

Categories: Basketball, Sports

csnhouston-map.jpg
Update: Tim Baldwin, the man who put together the map and Google spreadsheet, spoke with me last night and said he decided to do it for fun and that he had added every location from the CSN Houston list to the interactive map, noting that there were a number of locations found by ClutchFans members not on the CSN list. Check out the updated interactive map here.

Original entry:

As Rockets fans are well aware, the only major TV/cable provider in the Houston area that carries CSN Houston, the broadcast home for the Rockets, is Comcast. If you don't have it, you most likely can't see Rockets games including if you have the NBA League Pass, which blacks out games in the area due to league rules. I'm fairly certain this is to protect local TV feeds and their advertisers, which would be great if more than 40 percent of the viewing population actually had access.

As the season drags on, however, fans are obviously going to be searching out ways to watch games, particularly road games that they can't attend in person. After a bit of searching, I've found a couple of different lists out there that rundown the bars and restaurants where you can catch the games, but they are by no means comprehensive.

Probably the most comprehensive list is actually on the CSN Houston website. They have a downloadable PDF document that has nearly 400 bars and restaurants supposedly airing the games. But even that list is missing a few (Sambucca downtown, for example, carries it) and it doesn't really make it easy to find something in your area.

A much smaller, but more interesting approach was taken by one of the members of the massive ClutchFans.net bulletin board. In a thread there, "B" posted links to both an editable Google spreadsheet and an interactive map of locations. Because it's obviously a one-person operation, the current list is limited to whatever people on ClutchFans have mentioned, but it's a much easier way to find games than scrolling down a PDF document. And the Google spreadsheet is accessible to and can be changed by any Google user.

So, some more ambitious youth off school from college might consider going through CSN Houston's entire list and updating the spreadsheet. Perhaps CSN will do it themselves.

Whatever the case, hopefully the list will be rendered useless relatively soon when CSN Houston finally comes to terms with U-Verse, Dish Network and DirecTV, but until then, this is your best bet for watching Rockets games if you don't have Comcast.

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8 comments
ted_perez95
ted_perez95

Hypothetically, what if the rockets made it to the nba championship

last year it was abc who aired it for free

are the going to block abc from broadcasting it too?

ted_perez95
ted_perez95

Hypothetically, what if the rockets made it to the nba championship

last year it was abc who aired it for free

are the going to block abc from broadcasting it too?

cepage
cepage

The Rockets are not playing this very smart. We are rebuilding, and nobody knows any of the players on the roster right now.

We have a bright future because we are fun to watch and very, very young. But people can't watch the games so they just get used to not caring about the Rockets.

The Rockets should be licensing CSN under very favorable terms to the multichannel providers for just this one season. Once fans fall in love with Harden-Lin-Parsons, they would have the leverage to demand their ungodly rates for future seasons.

Instead, they are just driving down the market rate for their product with each passing month, as everybody stops giving a shit about the Rockets.

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

The Rockets are no longer Houston's team. They're now Comcast's team.

The Rockets are part owner in the CSN fiasco. This fan has zero interest in supporting a team that would make it so difficult for the hometown crowd to watch.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke

@cepage Unfortunately, it isn't up to the Rockets. They own a minority share of the station. It is up to a combination of the station and the various cable providers.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke

@HTownChowDown I really do get where you are coming from, but there was every indication given the history of CSN and cable providers in other cities like Chicago that it would not be a problem getting the channel onto all the major providers. I'm guessing if the Rockets had known how difficult this would be, they might have chosen differently.

One of the big problems is that a couple of providers -- DirecTV in particular -- are digging in their heels and refusing to budge on price point. They have drawn a philosophical and financial line in the sand with channels when it comes to cost per customer. Houston just happens to be caught in the crossfire that only recently began.

Also, this is a much more complicated issue with solely the Rockets. The Astros have much stricter requirements with MLB in terms of the area they must cover. It's a LOT bigger than the Rockets and, as a result, there are a LOT more households to be serviced -- one of the reasons their share of CSN is nearly double that of the Rockets. Once the weight of those viewers come to bear on the situation, my guess is things will move significantly. Until then, Rockets fans will suffer the consequences.

jeffbalke
jeffbalke

@jnodler1 @jeffbalke @cepage Agreed. I just think they share in the blame with everyone and aren't solely responsible for the mess. It's easy to pick one group and blame them for everything, but like with most things, it's just more complicated than that.

At the heart of this is a philosophical (and financial) war between cable providers and channels over broadcast rates. Cable networks believe with lineup growth at a fast pace they are paying too much per channel and it is increasing costs to customers. Channels like CSN want to get the same amount everyone has always gotten, which is a defensible position considering other similar channels have deals in place paying them.

The reality is all sports franchises are looking to own at least a piece of the network on which they show their games. It means increased revenue and more control over programming. Groups like CSN offer to provide that service and cable providers fight tooth and nail to keep costs low.

Unfortunately, fans are the ones caught in the middle.

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