CSN Houston has once again made its network available, at no cost, to TV providers across the 5-state region that makes up the Astros viewing area. The offer of a 45-day free trial has been extended to AT&T, DirecTV, and Dish Network, just to name a few.
This marks the second time the struggling Regional Sports Network has attempted to entice carriers with a free trial. None of the large providers chose to take up CSN Houston on their offer in May — and I would assume that isn’t going to change this time around. The carriers would run the risk of upsetting customers by having to drop the channel at the end of the trial period if a carriage agreement isn’t reached.
I contacted my cable company this afternoon to ask if they would be offering the channel during the free trial period. Eighteen minutes later, I was told that CSN Houston is not currently offered to customers of [the company that owns the naming rights to the San Antonio Spurs arena].
Thanks to some slick attorneys, Jim Crane and the Astros are now at the forefront of carriage negotiations between CSN Houston and the providers. In an order issued Tuesday by a bankruptcy judge in Houston, the Astros have until December 12 to take care of business.
The Rockets, who started their regular season last night, are on-board with the free trial offer. It should be noted, however, that the Rockets viewing area is smaller and carriers in Spurs/Mavericks/Pelicans/Thunder areas are even less likely to pickup the channel.