The ridiculous saga surrounding CSN Houston has reached new heights a week after the network drew a 0.0 rating for an Astros game - they've filed for involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Are you kidding me with this?
There's more to the story than meets the eye, though. The bankruptcy petition was filed by Comcast, the smallest of the three shareholders in the network behind the Astros and Rockets and is apparently a move designed to increase the network's carriage across various providers. With the way the network is set up currently, unanimous consent is required among the board of directors, and that hasn't been happening. The network will remain on the air during their Chapter 11 proceedings.
What an absolute mess. Things get even crazier when you hear that the Astros were caught off-guard by the filing and that they hadn't received their rights fees from the network since June. Wait, WHAT?
Comcast has improperly filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition in an attempt to prevent the Astros from terminating the Media Rights Agreement between the Astros and Houston Regional Sports Network. HRSN failed to pay the Astros media rights fees in July, August and September, and we have invested additional money in order to keep the network viable through our season.
Despite not receiving our media rights fees, our objective has not changed. We will continue to work toward obtaining full carriage so that all of our fans are able to watch the Astros games while making sure that the Astros are able to compete for championships.
This is absurdity at its purest form. Remember last month, when a Forbes article was written claiming the Astros were the most profitable franchise in baseball history? Yeah, the Astros weren't even getting paid their rights fees for half of the season and were dumping money into the network the entire time. Whoops.
I think the most telling part of this is the revelation in the statement that the Astros were considering be terminating their rights agreement prior to the bankruptcy petition being filed. With the beginning of the Rockets season on the horizon, CSN Houston really needed to get all of their ducks in a row to avoid enraging even more of the local fanbase. But with everything we've learned with this filing, who knows when this saga is ever going to end?
First it was Longhorn Network, now it's CSN Houston. Future note for any Texas-based sports franchises: know what you're doing before you attempt to start your own RSN.