CSN, Astros Trading Barbs in Bankruptcy Case
You would think by now Jim Crane would have made his point. But, then again, the government is shut down due to a small group of hardline Republicans, so I guess keeping the Astros and Rockets off TV due to one hardline MLB owner seems reasonable these days.
Oh, let's not fight.
As CSN hurtles toward a bankruptcy hearing on October 28 to determine if a trustee will be appointed to take over management of the struggling network, new documents have emerged showing a growing dissent between Crane and the CSN leadership, according to the Chron, with Comcast attorneys going so far as to say the network would not survive were the bid for bankruptcy to fail.
For their part, the Astros call the whole thing a "smoke screen" and an effort to squeeze them out of the process of negotiating carriage agreements with U-verse, DirecTV and Dish Network, the heart of the entire disagreement since Crane and the Astros have blocked the network's attempts at finalizing deals that would put them and the Rockets on the air.
"Comcast's allegations ... are a smoke screen, designed to hide what is really going on here," the Astros said. "Comcast orchestrated a collusive involuntary bankruptcy filing and is attempting ... to facilitate its plan to acquire the network's assets and the Astros' media rights without the Astros' consent."
The Comcast filing warned of the network's possible demise.
If the Astros are allowed to shop their games to another carrier, as team owner Jim Crane has said he wants to do, Comcast said, "At best, the network's remaining assets would be sold in a fire sale. All of its 130 employees will lose their jobs."
The Comcast affiliates -- National Digital Television Center, CSN California, Comcast Sports Management Services and Houston SportsNet Finance -- also claim that if the case is dismissed, the result will be "the collapse of the network and hence the destruction of millions of dollars in value."
Another passage refers to the "Astros' apparent strategy of sabotaging the network" by blocking carriage deals and said bankruptcy is "the natural and obvious result of the Astros' refusal to permit the network to enter into carriage agreements. ... The Astros apparently now feel (the agreement with CSN Houston) is not rich enough to suit them."
Pretty gloomy stuff overall. Crane has said they already have a plan to put the team on the air next season regardless of the Comcast situation.
Let me just break down a few of my thoughts on this whole ridiculous debacle.