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If no deal is reached soon, 60 percent of the Houston market won’t be able to see Astros games

Apr 2, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Getty Images

Insert your “who wants to see ’em anyway!” joke here:

Astros owner Jim Crane said Monday there were a “couple conference calls” in an attempt to resolve long-stalled CSN Houston carrier negotiations and avoid a three-team blackout in 60 percent of the Houston-area TV market.

The Astros play the Rangers at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. If a deal isn’t reached by then, the Astros, Rockets and Dynamo will remain unavailable on major carriers such as AT&T Uverse, DirecTV and Dish Network.

A common tale these days as sports rights fees skyrocket and the costs are passed on to subscribers. Which is all good when the ones passing things on to subscribers also own the sports rights, but when multiple media companies are involved it often gets complicated.

As for your “who wants to see the Astros?” jokes, save ’em. Given the sheer number of baseball games there is value in the product to everyone involved, even if the team is poor.  Something tells me this gets resolved fairly soon.

  1. darthicarus - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    On a positive note, folks in the area that have MLB.TV should be able to watch the games from the comforts of home now…right?

    • jarathen - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      I’m going to assume sarcasm here. You can never watch teams that claim you as their region. Like if you tried to watch a Brewers game in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        Yep. Like FoxSports Cincinnati shoving Reds baseball down my throat and all the Cardinals games being blacked out.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Aren’t you guys in the midwest seriously screwed? Think I remember Colin Wyers of BPro mentioning that living in IA, he’s blacked out of like, thirteen different markets.

        In NC, I think I’m blacked out of Orioles games for some odd reason. Camden Yards is only 450mi away from me…

      • shanemcdowell - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        church: That’s because we’re technically in the MASN market, but Time Warner and MASN can’t agree on terms. Impacts Orioles and Nationals games.

      • jarathen - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        Iowa is blacked out of SIX different teams – Royals, Cardinals, Twins, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox. Nevada has a similar situation.

        I’m doing MLB Radio this year for more reasons than blackouts, but the idea that on a given full slate day I am blacked out of, at minimum, 20% of baseball, with a possibility of 40%, means I won’t pay a dime until it is resolved.

        This excludes national rights problems such as Saturday and Sunday games.

  2. kopy - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    No need for jokes, but there is some truth to it. If one of those teams was in high demand, this would end much quicker. Jeremy Lin ended the Cablevision disagreement almost by himself in New York. People didn’t mind that they couldn’t see the Knicks and hockey until Linsanity became a buzzword.

    • nolanwiffle - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Can he work his same magic in Houston? Personally, I think you’ve overstated the magnitude of “Linsanity”.

      • kopy - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        No, it certainly wouldn’t work anymore. But Linsanity was at its peak in New York in February 2012. Despite being over-hyped and short-lived, it was a serious phenomena.

  3. El Bravo - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    The Stros are undefeated and sit atop their new, powerhouse division, so yall better recognize.

  4. geoknows - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    What, no jokes about “They won’t be missing much?”

  5. asimonetti88 - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    As far as I know, the Lakers still aren’t being shown on Dish Network here in LA. So yes, there is value but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be resolved quickly. For Astros fans sake, I hope it is.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    With two Texas teams I feel like it should be called the “AL Western” to more perfectly capture the spirit of the division. “West” is just a point on the compass, while “Western” has some flair and cache’.

  7. hpt150 - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Last season when the Astros were still in the NL, we in Houston were blacked out from Rangers games. No idea if that changes with the Astros new AL affiliation but how Houston is part of the Arlington market, I’ll never know. Even with the Extra Innings package, we couldn’t get Rangers games unless they were nationally televised. Thanks MLB!

    • historiophiliac - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      I am in Oklahoma, and MLB considers me in the Rangers, Astros, Cardinals, and Royals markets. I really don’t know how I escaped the Rockies and a Roaming-Market-To-Be-Named-Later markets.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        “Roaming-Market-To-Be-Named-Later markets.” Hahaha!
        Yeah…coming your way soon. But you live (literally)…in the middle of nowhere don’t you?

      • historiophiliac - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        What’s the middle of nowhere, Indiana?

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        Hahaha! Touche’…I guess. But you should know I lived in Oklahoma (Lawton) and I am well aware of it being in the middle of nowhere. I happen to be from “The Nations Heartland.”
        Yep…you heard it here. “The crossroads of America.” Hahaha!

  8. timb12 - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Even if you have NBA pass you can’t watch Rockets games, I assume the same thing goes for MLB.

    • nolanwiffle - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      That’s Linsane!

  9. Sorbet Te Charta Saccus - Apr 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    “Given the sheer number of baseball games there is value in the product to everyone involved, even if the team is poor. Something tells me this gets resolved fairly soon.”

    Don’t be so sure, Craig. Comcast treats their sports networks like gold. In Philly, it took years of federal court cases to finally GET CSN on DirecTV(yeah, DirecTV wanted to pay for it and Comcast said “no way”), because CSN considers it the only way to get people to buy their product(it sucks). And in many cases, it is true. Comcast blows, but up until a couple years ago, the only way to get the Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers was to have Comcast to get CSN Philly. I guess the people of Houston will have to go through the same thing too and suck it up and get Comcast.

  10. prospero63 - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Craig, something I’ve wondered about this is if MLB.TV blackout restrictions would still be imposed. For example, I could watch every spring training game but I suspect that (like in all previous seasons) I won’t be able to watch the in-season games due to blackout restrictions. You have to wonder if, in these circumstances, MLB wouldn’t allow MLB.TV to carry the games. If so, then I’ll spend my money on that and tell Comcast and DirecTV to kiss my… err, you know where I’m going… So, do you (or anyone else) have any idea how the MLB.TV angle would effect things (if at all)?

  11. rbj1 - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    The other 40% are demanding the same treatment.

    Here in Toledo I’m blacked out of Tigers, Indians and Reds games, though as I am an Extra Innings subscriber, I get those games. And having the only option being the Tigers broadcast when they play the Yankees, I don’t mind missing Michael Kay.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      So you are saying if I buy the baseball package I will get ALL Cardinals games?
      As it currently stands…I live in the FoxSportsOhio market (1 1/2 hours west of Cincinnati).
      As a result, the Cardinals games are blacked out. I cant begin to illustrate how pissed off I get when I watch the full 30 minutes of pregame on FoxSportsMidwest only to have the game blacked out just prior to the 1st pitch. You would think after several years I would be somewhat used to it.
      Nope. Not a chance. Pisses me off as much now as it did years ago.

      • rbj1 - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        With Directv, I, in Toledo, get Fox Sports Ohio (Cleveland sports teams* games) Fox Sports Cincinnati (Cincinnati teams* games) Sports Time Ohio (again Cleveland* games) and Fox Sports Detroit (Detroit* games, which lets me avoid a 1945 Germany city. Seriously, Detroit resembles 1945 Dresden.)
        If a Tigers game is on ESPN and FSD, the ESPN feed is blacked out, as is the EI feed. But the FSD feed is fine.
        If you’re in St. Louis, there should be a regional sports network carrying the Cardinals. But I’m not in that market so I don’t know.

        *excluding the NFL, which has its own deal.

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      I am not in St. Louis. Again…1 1/2 hours West of Cincinnati. Which is Central Indiana.
      The heart of Cubs/Reds Country. So FoxSportsMidwest blacks out all Cardinals games.
      I watch them when they play the Reds and Cubs. Pretty much it. Other than the nationaly televised games of course.
      My question was…
      If I purchase the Baseball Package through DirectTV will they still black me out of the Cardinals games.

      • rbj1 - Apr 2, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        That I don’t know. Extra Innings should be separate from RSN agreements. Now, I’d expect Reds-Cardinals games to only have the Reds feed in your area. But you should otherwise get Cardinals games. I think. Call them up and see if you can get it in writing.

  12. danielcp0303 - Apr 2, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    I appreciate this post being put up. It’s been going on now for 6 months, hasn’t been much coverage. We’ve already missed an entire Rockets season, now it’s gonna be Astros games.

  13. hushbrother - Apr 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I want to see them just for their groovy new unis.

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