As an “in market” Astros’ fan that has no television provider options to watch my team, I am beyond frustrated. We are now half-way into the MLB season and still no deal has been made between Comcast SportsNet Houston and the major T.V. providers. Houston Rockets fans had to endure an entire season of not being able to watch their team, and the Rockets had a successful season that ended in the playoffs. I have never liked basketball. In fact, I hate basketball and would rather watch three hours of Fran Drescher singing Opera than have to watch a quarter of a basketball game. That being said, Friday I became a huge Rockets fan!
Last night, NBA All-Star Dwight Howard tweeted that he was going to become a member of the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are coming off of a 2012-2013 campaign where they ended 45-37, which was good enough for third in their division and a trip to the playoffs. When you add Dwight Howard to that, and potentially another big-named free agent, the Rockets should be a force in the Western Conference for the 2013-2014 season. How does that affect the Astros you ask? Well, let me tell you what I think.
While the Rockets were a good team last season, adding some serious star power could really push them to the next level. The Rockets are having to compete for fans with two other Texas NBA teams, an Oklahoma team and those other star-studded teams across the nation that naturally grab the attention of the bandwagon fans. Adding Howard into the mix could take the Rockets from a regional power to a national power. These types of moves are what gets all of the airtime on ESPN, and because of that more people are interested in how the team will play during the season. In other words, CSN Houston now has a product it can sell!
Prior to Friday, CSN had very little leverage in any T.V. deals. They were going into negotiations with the second or third best NBA product in the state and the worst baseball team in the MLB. The Astros are currently 28th in the MLB in attendance, averaging 18,271. They have the worst record in baseball with zero nationally recognizable names. They also have an owner that recently told The Houston Chronicle that CSN Houston was facing “tough decisions” due to dwindling funds. CSN, the Astros and the Rockets were looking desperate in their negotiations, and that is no way to get anywhere close to what you want. Now that the Rockets will have Howard and James Harden, CSN Houston has something that people will care about.
I’m not saying that with Dwight Howard in Houston, Dish Network and DirecTV will bow down to whatever CSN’s demands are, or even that a deal will get done anytime soon. All I’m saying is: you add the Rockets improved product to having Reid Ryan dealing with the negotiations instead of George “The Wiesel” Postolos on the Astros side, and they have got to be in a much better situation than they were three months ago.