The Great CSN Houston Tax Scam
Everybody's pretty damn tired of the CSN Houston situation. Tired of being screwed out of Rockets games. Tired, maybe, of not being able to see the Astros get swept by the Oakland A's. Tired of watching CSN's Matt Hutchings constantly on the television and lying out of his teeth about who's responsible for this situation.
The great CSN Houston tax scam
But leave it to the Houston Chronicle's business columnist, Loren Steffy, to get to the heart of the matter: The taxpayers have provided some pretty generous taxpayer subsidies to the Rockets, Astros and CSN. But with a reward of paying to be blacked out on television.
"What's more, Comcast SportsNet Houston itself, as [Steffy] wrote last year, got $1 million in tax handouts from the city for setting up here.
"Taxpayers, then, have already subsidized both the teams and the network, in exchange for a blackout."
The games aren't on television. Ticket prices are outrageous, the Astros make the Chicago Cubs look competently run, and Les Alexander has decided it's easier to make a profit not using Toyota Center than it is letting somebody other than the Rockets make use of it.
Steffy suggests in his column that maybe the Astros, Rockets and CSN should chip in a few bucks to cover distribution costs for the network, which in turn might keep cable bills a bit cheaper. Yeah, that's never going to happen, but maybe instead of demanding the satellite and cable providers show up for negotiations, Mayor Parker ought to be cracking down on the various pro sports franchises of the city and demand they start to do something in return for those millions of dollars they've scammed.
Instead of it standing dark for most of the year, maybe the mayor should demand that the Astros make Minute Maid Park available to Little League and high school teams when the Astros are on the road, especially to those intercity leagues and schools that don't have access to a decent field. And there's been talk of using the place for football games in the past, so maybe some high school teams can play football inside of it. And there's nothing wrong with letting the citizens of Houston and Harris County duck inside whenever they want to play games of baseball and softball. They did help to pay for the place, after all.