Those betting the under on whether CSN Houston’s final live telecast was the Oct. 24 preseason game between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have collected their money.
The ongoing chapter 11 bankruptcy saga will extend until at least Thursday, Oct. 30, when final arguments in the case are now scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT), instead of Oct. 28.
Under the plan, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse would gain ownership of the network, which would trade under the Roots Sports banner, from the prior owners, the NBA Rockets, MLB’s Houston Astros and Comcast/NBC Sports.
The Houston Chronicle reported that as a deadline to submit their final modifications neared, attorneys for the network asked judge Marvin Isgur for more time to submit changes regarding the sale of furniture, fixtures and equipment at CSN Houston’s downtown studios from Comcast to the network. The DBS provider and the telco, which are waiting federal regulatory approval over their proposed merger, want to use the extant equipment at the facility for the new network but refuse to pay for it as part of their agreements with the teams. In turn, the clubs have proposed a plan that transfers ownership of those items to the new network while compensating Comcast for the goods.
At any rate, CSN Houston will be televising the Rockets’ game against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 29 (the team’s opener against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 28 will air nationally on TNT).
Comcast opposes the plan for a number of reasons, and is still looking to reclaim some compensation for the $100 million loan it provided to the RSN for start-up costs, the studio build-out and early rights fee allotments; fair value for NBC Sports' 22% stake in the network that was valued at $700 million in 2010 and would be sold for just $5,000 to DirecTV/AT&T; and exculpation from creditors upon the transfer of the network.
Comcast/NBC Sports could also file an appeal that would further delay matters.
At any rate, CSN Houston has issued a schedule of Rockets’ telecasts covering its first five regional telecasts.
Launched in October 2012 and seeking a monthly subscriber fee in the $3.40 neighborhood, CSN Houston failed to gain distribution traction beyond Comcast and a few smaller providers in the Houston DMA, much less with DirecTV, AT&T U-verse, Time Warner Cable, Suddenlink, Charter and Verizon, among others, in its five-state TV territory that also stretches to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
As such, the RSN never generated nearly enough affiliate revenues to pay the teams their rights fees and meet its bills.
The RSN ended live news and studio programming on Oct. 22. Under the bankruptcy plan, 96 of CSN Houston’s employees will lose their jobs.