Jim Crane’s lawsuit against former owner opens 8 years later

Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Jim Crane might not be winning over players in the extension market, but he could win a lawsuit eight years in the making.

The year is 2011, and the Houston Astros, the doormat of baseball, have had a change of guard. Businessman Jim Crane has bought the franchise from Drayton McLane for $680 million in May of a drastic year for the team.

Two years following the purchase of the team, Crane filed a lawsuit against Comcast, NBC Universal and former owner McLane for misrepresentation and fraud, as Comcast SportsNet Houston failed.

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On June 17, 2021, a Texas appellate court finally denied Comcast’s motion to dismiss the case. The lawsuit was largely delayed due to the company entering bankruptcy, as reported by Jason Morrin.  Crane’s Houston Baseball Partners (HBP) argued that the group lost hundreds of millions of dollars. This was in part to the regional network misinterpreting the value that they held and revenue that they would be able to make.

With this denial of Comcast and McLane’s dismissal from the lawsuit, the appellate court will conduct a traditional trial back at the lower court. Both parties will have to investigate all forms of communication made during the sale of the team in 2011. They will mostly be looking at what McLane promised in regard to value of the network and its potential profit.

The court will look to see if the network gave embellished numbers and predictions in regard to the future of production. With Comcast SportsNet miserably falling through, Crane lost 100% of HBP’s equity in the Network, over $11 million in capital calls, $85 million in fees under a media rights agreement and $12,816,198 in bankruptcy settlement costs.

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