Astros Bankruptcy Appeal Won't Get CSN Houston on TV Any Sooner

Categories: Sports

The CSN Houston saga continues
Bankruptcy judge Marvin Isgur commands respect. Not because he's a judge, but because of his understanding of bankruptcy law. He's respected by attorneys who appear before him. He's respected by his fellow judges. This is important to know because the Houston Astros have appealed his ruling putting CSN Houston into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. This means they are asking a federal district court judge and probably also the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the judge, to say that he's wrong, that he doesn't understand the law. That he doesn't know what he's talking about.

The CSN Houston parties return to Judge Isgur's courtroom again tomorrow. The Astros will be asking the judge to stay his order putting the network into bankruptcy, that means they'll ask him to delay enforcing it because they believe that he's wrong and that his decision will be overturned on appeal. It is possible Judge Isgur will grant this stay, but the odds aren't in favor of the Astros.

This is a tough situation for all involved. Neither the Astros nor the Rockets are receiving media rights fees, so they're losing money. The Astros and Rockets are also losing money on the network, as is Comcast. Network employees fear for their jobs. And fans of the Astros, Rockets, and Dynamo who don't subscribe to Comcast cable are still unable to watch their teams.

The fans are tired of all of this. They want to see the games on television and they don't care who is at fault. The fans would probably be happy with the Astros/MLB plan to broadcast Astros games on the MLB Network -- sorry, the NBA hasn't offered up any helpful plans for the Rockets. The fans would be happy to see Jim Crane take any money-losing carriage plan because it gets the games on television. And they're probably angry at Judge Isgur for his bankruptcy ruling because this means the Astros can't yank their media rights from the network and get on TV.

But Judge Isgur's not tasked with with taking care of the fans. A bankrupt network has been placed in his hands. And as a bankruptcy judge, it's his job to help those involved devise a new plan, one that saves the network, that brings along some form of financial success. A plan which, as a byproduct, would guarantee that the games of the Astros and Rockets get nearly 100-percent carriage throughout Houston (sorry Dish Network folks, but that's probably never going to happen for you because they've essentially said no to any and all new regional sports networks -- the Yankees can't even get the YES Network on Dish Network in New York City).

The Astros say the network will never work, and want out. The Astros are convinced they can sell their media rights back to Fox Sports Net and things will be fine. The Rockets are convinced the network can succeed, but they have to deal with the Astros seemingly sabotaging the network every time someone from the team speaks. The Rockets also have to deal with Comcast who appear to be trying to steal the network from them. Comcast says market conditions have changed from when the parties, behind Drayton McLane and Les Alexander, established the network and that there's no way to get carriage fee deals that were originally established.

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