CSN Houston: Carriage Meeting with Suddenlink, Houston Mayor a 'Positive Step'

Suddenlink CEO Kent, CSN President Hutchings, Astros Owner, Rockets CEO Convene with Parker over Stalled Distribution

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and top executives from Comcast SportsNet Houston and Suddenlink met face-to-face on Monday to discuss carriage for the regional sports network.

The meeting was aimed at jump-starting affiliate negotiations between the RSN, a joint venture of MLB’s Houston Astros, the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Comcast’s NBC Sports Group, and the cable operator, which controls systems in the service’s TV territory encompassing Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico.

Among those convening with Parker, who last month called for meetings with providers, were Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerry Kent, Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane, Rockets CEO Tadd Brown and CSN president and general manager Matt Hutchings.

"We're appreciative of Mayor Parker's efforts to bring everyone together as we work towards a resolution,” said Hutchings in a statement. “There is more work ahead as we continue to seek a deal with Suddenlink that is in line with agreements they currently hold with other RSNs, but feel today's face-to-face meeting was a positive step.  We're looking forward to our upcoming meetings with the Mayor and decision makers from AT&T, DirecTV and Dish."  

Suddenlink officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment late Monday night.

Currently, the RSN, only has deals with Comcast in parts of Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as Houston. It also has pacts with a number of small providers giving it about 40% coverage in Houston, the nation’s 10th largest DMA with 2.2 million homes.

DirecTV, Dish and AT&T U-verse also have agreed to meet with CSN and Parker. The telco may convene with the mayor and CSN sometime later this week, but schedules had not been finalized by press time.