Comcast SportsNet Houston has some serious financial issues. That should come as no surprise to the millions of would-be viewers that have been unable to act as patrons to the RSN that is not carried by any of the major satellite and cable providers. Creditors have now petitioned federal bankruptcy courts in an effort to work towards a resolution.
Apparently the partnership between the Astros, Rockets, and Comcast/Universal has become strained and the parties are unable to agree on a strategy to save the Regional Sports Network. The petition filed this morning asks that the court appoint a trustee to make the business decisions while the RSN continues to operate during legal proceedings.
If you’re like me, and reading complex court documents isn’t your idea of a good time, here are some of the highlights.
"As a result of fundamental disagreement among the partners about the direction and management of the Network, the Alleged Debtor faces an urgent financial and corporate governance crisis. The Network cannot pay its bills as they come due, cannot raise capital, and cannot make key business decisions."
That statement is pretty easy for us non-lawyer types to understand. Here’s more.
"Comcast Lender stands prepared, if requested by a Chapter 11 Trustee, to negotiate over the terms of possible debtor-in- possession financing necessary to finance the Network’s operations until a sale can be consummated."
Translation: Comcast is willing to buy out its partners.
This might be a good move for the Astros — but a statement released by the team is even more confusing than the legal mumbo-jumbo of the court documents. The Astros’ statement suggests that they remain committed to the joint venture and their “objective has not changed”. But one has to wonder if the team might not be better off if the partnership is dissolved. I mean, why stay on board a sinking ship? CSN Houston has been a bust from day one and the Astros would be wise to try looking at other options here.
Rumors surfaced earlier in the year that the Astros had nixed a potential carriage agreement between CSN Houston and DirecTV, but the Astros denied those reports. And, even though the Astros were not among the group of entities that petitioned the court today, the RSN seems to have reason to believe that the club intends on shopping for a new broadcast partner.
Afterall, that would seem to be the best course of action for the Astros, the Rockets, and their fans. Satellite and cable providers simply aren’t willing to pay the asking price and its time for both teams to cut their losses.
Jeremy Lin (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)