How the CSN Houston Broadcast Map Dooms the Network

Categories: Sports

The CSN coverage area takes up a swath of the southwest.
It was just a little over 30 days ago that Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said he wanted the CSN Houston matter settled within 30 days. That didn't happen.

The parties still await a ruling from a Judge Lynn Hughes on the Astros appeal of Judge Marvin Isgur's ruling that put the network into bankruptcy. Judge Isgur, the bankruptcy judge assigned this case, still makes the necessary rulings that are keeping the network on the air and the employees and vendors compensated. The Astros and Rockets are still not being paid the dollars due to them under their media rights deals with the network. Additionally, at some point Judge Isgur will make a ruling as to whether he has jurisdiction over the fraud suit filed by Crane against Comcast and former Astros owner Drayton McLane. (For those really interested, there is a status conference before Judge Isgur schedule for June 12).

Spokesmen for DirecTV, AT&T, and SuddenLink reiterated last week that while they would like to carry the network, the amount requested by CSN Houston is too much and not in the best interest of the company owners and their subscribers. Thus time passes, and the network remains unavailable to most of the city/state/country. Jobs and livelihoods remain in jeopardy, and companies worry about whether they'll ever be paid all their owed by CSN Houston.

The populace is sick of the whole matter and has basically placed a pox on all houses. But while the proceedings drag along, perhaps it's time to revisit what is perhaps the main issue preventing the network from achieving full carriage: the size of the CSN Houston broadcast footprint.

The footprint of CSN Houston encompasses more than the Houston area. It includes the entire state of Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana. It's the same footprint established years earlier by Fox Sports Southwest, and it uses the same boundaries defined by MLB as the home territory for the Astros -- those areas in which MLB games are blacked out on the Extra Innings and MLB.TV packages.

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Jon Huffman
Jon Huffman

Thanks mlb for turning everyone into the Milwaukee brewers nice job.


The 5-state coverage area may have made sense in the '70s and '80s, but now it seems like a ridiculous overreach to assume that there's enough Astros interest in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and freaking New Mexico to try and install the channel on their basic cable packages. And the limits of the Rockets' coverage area vs. the Astros makes the whole channel seem like a terrible idea from its inception.


Boy, did they ever fuck up.

There is no question that this network is killing interest in the Astros as fast as their pitiful recent record is. If they go 2 entire seasons off local television, it will cripple the team for years. 

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