Skip to content

Astros owner sues ex-Astros owner, Comcast and NBC Universal in RSN dispute

Nov 23, 2013, 12:46 PM EST

astros logo new

Jim Crane’s Houston Astros ownership group filed a lawsuit late Thursday against former Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr., McLane Champions, LLC, Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal (NBC Sports is owned by Comcast/NBCUniversal).

The suit, filed in Texas state court, alleges that, at the time of Crane’s ownership group’s 2011 acquisition of the Astros and McLane’s interest in the regional sports network CSN Houston, the defendants engaged in fraud and conspiracy and negligently misrepresented and omitted information relating to the network’s value and its prospects.

The lawsuit also accuses McLane Champions of breach of contract.

The Astros and McLane’s share of CSN Houston were reportedly sold for $615 million. CSN Houston launched in October 2012 and started televising Astros games in 2013.

“These misrepresentations have caused us an enormous loss, and they’ve hurt our fans and hurt our city of Houston,” Crane said during a Friday press conference. “Because of these misrepresentations, we are stuck in a network deal that cannot get off the ground.

“So we now face a situation where we accept millions of dollars of loss each year with damage to the franchise and the city, or we fight back.”

McLane released a statement on Friday responding to the suit:

I haven’t seen the lawsuit yet, but Jim Crane is highly experienced and has been in business over 30 years. He is surrounded by top tier accounts, attorneys, operators and marketers and he has participated in transactions even larger than this one. His experts meticulously examined the Houston Astros financial position. My team was absolutely transparent and produced thousands of pages of documents; we provide answers to explanations to all of their questions. Any suggestion otherwise is absolutely false. As an example, today, Jim Crane reportedly stated that he did not receive the business plan for CSN Houston prior to the purchase. That is not true.

“This was one of the most complex and scrutinized transactions of my business career. Jim’s group had all the facts. In fact, he told the Chronicle this September that the regional sports network had ‘good long-term value.’ The Accusations that have been reported are hollow and appear to be an attempt to recreate the facts,. We will respond in a vigorous and persuasive manner to the lawsuit.

NBCUniversal also released a statement:

“Comcast/NBCUniversal vehemently rejects any claim of wrongdoing asserted by the Astros. This litigation outside the bankruptcy proceedings is a desperate act, committed during a period in which Mr. Crane and his team of sophisticated advisors have been granted by the Bankruptcy Court an opportunity to explore and effectuate solutions to the Network’s serious business problems. Instead, it appears that Mr. Crane is suffering from an extreme case of buyer’s remorse, and aiming to blame the Network’s challenges on anything but his own actions. Comcast/NBCUniversal looks forward to vindicating itself in this litigation and also remains committed to a reorganization of the Network in Bankruptcy Court.”

Crane told the Houston Chronicle that he doesn’t have buyer’s remorse and is “very happy we own the team and will continue to be happy and we’ll work our way through this, and the rest of it, I guess we’ll sort it out in court.”

Latest Posts
  1. Cliff Lee scheduled to make spring debut next Thursday

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EST

    Cliff Lee AP AP

    It will be his first game action since last July 31.

  2. Rangers shut down Edgar Olmos due to shoulder impingement

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:04 PM EST

    Edgar Olmos Edgar Olmos

    The Rangers will shut down Edgar Olmos days after picking him up on a waiver claim from the Mariners.

  3. Eury Perez is early favorite to replace Melvin Upton in center field

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EST

    Eury Perez Eury Perez

    Eury Perez is the early favorite to take over in center field while Melvin Upton recovers from a foot injury.

  4. Paul Molitor to implement limit on electronics use in Twins’ clubhouse

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:05 PM EST

    Paul Molitor Paul Molitor

    New Twins manager Paul Molitor cracked down on electronics usage in his first address to the full squad at spring training.

  5. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Ryan Howard is in the best shape “since I’ve known him”

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:10 PM EST

    Ryan Howard Ryan Howard

    Ryan Howard had his first full healthy season since 2011 and both GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and guest instructor Dan Plesac thought he looked like he was in very good shape.

  6. Blue Jays, Athletics talking to Dayan Viciedo

    Feb 27, 2015, 8:20 PM EST

    viciedo getty Getty Images

    Two more suitors enter the Dayan Viciedo sweepstakes.

  7. Michael Saunders to miss 5-6 weeks after surgery to remove meniscus in his left knee

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:15 PM EST

    Michael Saunders Michael Saunders

    Michael Saunders will return to the Blue Jays a lot sooner than anticipated.

  8. Athletics claim Alex Hassan off waivers from the Orioles

    Feb 27, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

    Alex Hassan Getty Images

    For the second time this offseason, the Athletics have claimed Alex Hassan off waivers.

  9. Orioles to give Chris Davis some playing time in right field during the spring

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:36 PM EST

    Chris Davis Chris Davis

    Chris Davis will get some work in the outfield this spring. He hasn’t played there since 2012.

  10. MLBPA will be monitoring how Cubs handle Kris Bryant

    Feb 27, 2015, 6:05 PM EST

    Kris Bryant Kris Bryant

    MLBPA executive director Tony Clark will be keeping a close eye on how the Cubs handle the eventual promotion of prospect Kris Bryant.

  11. The Pittsburgh Pirates issued a statement about “Jihadi John” wearing their cap

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:51 PM EST

    pirates logo

    Note: they’re not fans of this particular bit of product placement.

  12. Derek Lowe is talking to the Red Sox about a coaching job

    Feb 27, 2015, 4:35 PM EST

    Derek Lowe Red Sox AP

    Lowe pitched for the Red Sox from 1997-2004.

  13. Juan Pierre officially announces his retirement

    Feb 27, 2015, 1:06 PM EST

    Juan Pierre Getty Getty Images

    Pierre was a singles-hitting, base-stealing machine.

  14. Johan Santana’s deal with the Blue Jays has an April 28 opt-out clause

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:19 AM EST

    johan santana getty Getty Images

    If he’s called up to the majors Santana will get $2.5 million in guaranteed money.

  15. Aramis Ramirez says 2015 will be his last year

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

    Aramis Ramirez Getty Images

    When he’s done he’ll have played 18 years in the bigs and will be pushing 400 homers.

  16. Royals are only looking at Joe Blanton as a reliever

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EST

    Joe Blanton AP

    “The only way he is really going to help us is in the bullpen.”

  17. Bartolo Colon may be the Mets’ Opening Day starter

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:35 AM EST

    Bartolo Colon

    Yes, this is mostly just an excuse to post a picture of Bartolo Colon

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4550)
  2. Y. Moncada (3762)
  3. F. Rodriguez (3627)
  4. Z. Greinke (3306)
  5. M. Harvey (2904)
  1. E. Cabrera (2869)
  2. A. Wainwright (2499)
  3. A. Gordon (2485)
  4. A. Beltre (2433)
  5. J. Santana (2292)