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. Chihiro Kaneko re-signs with Orix Buffaloes

    Dec 25, 2014, 3:05 PM EST

    kaneko getty Getty Images

    Japanese righty Chihiro Kaneko might have been one of the top starters on the open market this winter had he been posted by the Orix Buffaloes, his Nippon Professional Baseball team.

  2. 2015 Free Agent Tracker

    Dec 25, 2014, 1:23 PM EST

    Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez

    Your one-stop shop for all of the offseason signings.

  3. Merry Christmas from HBT!

    Dec 25, 2014, 8:47 AM EST

    Screen Shot 2014-12-25 at 8.45.33 AM

    And a very special friend of HBT

  4. Tommy Lasorda reads “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

    Dec 24, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

    mlb video

    A good way to finish off our Christmas Eve coverage on HardballTalk …

  5. Kenta Maeda re-signs with the Hiroshima Carp

    Dec 24, 2014, 8:04 PM EST

    kenta maeda getty Getty Images

    The sought-after 26-year-old right-hander has now officially re-signed with the Hiroshima Carp for the 2015 season, according to the Japan Times.

  6. Rockies sign outfielder Roger Bernadina

    Dec 24, 2014, 6:17 PM EST

    roger bernadina getty Getty Images

    Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rockies have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with outfielder Roger Bernadina.

  7. What baseball team did people from Bedford Falls root for?

    Dec 24, 2014, 4:21 PM EST

    IAWL

    A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town. Well, except for Mr. Potter. That guy is LOADED.

  8. The Braves and A.J. Pierzynski reach a one-year deal; first reported in a ham store

    Dec 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    Ham

    No, really. The news broke on line at a Honeybaked Ham store.

  9. THE YEAR IN REVIEW: HBT’s most commented-upon stories of the year

    Dec 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    megaphone

    Based on these results, no, we will not stick to baseball. Because you clearly don’t want us to.

  10. Orioles re-sign Delmon Young

    Dec 24, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

    Delmon Young Getty Images

    Buck Showalter found a way to get value out of Young in a part-time role.

  11. “There’s a decent chance” the Rays will trade Ben Zobrist

    Dec 24, 2014, 11:16 AM EST

    Ben Zobrist AP

    Zobrist has been a regular for the Rays since 2008.

  12. The average major league salary is up to $3.8 million

    Dec 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Money Bag

    Money don’t get everything it’s true. But what it don’t get, I can’t use

  13. The Yankees are treating Alex Rodriguez differently than they treated Derek Jeter. So what?

    Dec 24, 2014, 9:14 AM EST

    Jeter and A-Rod

    Dirty secret: baseball isn’t always about winning. Even when the Yankees are involved.

  14. Video: Nationals Park transforms into ice rink for next week’s 2015 Winter Classic

    Dec 23, 2014, 10:59 PM EST

    2015 winter classic logo

    “NHL Live” on NBC Sports Network ended a segment Tuesday night with this time-lapse video of Nationals Park being converted from a baseball field into an ice rink for next week’s 2015 NHL Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and visiting Chicago Blackhawks …

  15. Padres ink Brett Wallace to minor league contract

    Dec 23, 2014, 9:44 PM EST

    brett wallace getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Padres have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with first baseman Brett Wallace. The deal comes with an invitation to …

  16. Braves sign setup man Jason Grilli to two-year contract

    Dec 23, 2014, 8:31 PM EST

    jason grilli getty Getty Images

    From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Braves have signed 38-year-old right-handed reliever Jason Grilli to a two-year, $8 million contract with a club option for 2017 …

  17. Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada expected to begin private workouts within two weeks

    Dec 23, 2014, 7:58 PM EST

    cuba hat

    19-year-old infield prospect Yoan Moncada defected from his native Cuba over the summer and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball back in mid-November, but he is still waiting for official clearance from the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) …

  18. Cubs announce two-year, $5 million deal with David Ross

    Dec 23, 2014, 6:23 PM EST

    david ross

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was first to report that a deal was in place between the Cubs and veteran catcher David Ross, and now that agreement has been made official …

  19. Twins sign Tim Stauffer for $2.2 million

    Dec 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EST

    Tim Stauffer Getty Getty Images

    Minnesota adds a right-handed reliever.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. W. Myers (3283)
  2. J. Kang (3118)
  3. C. McGehee (2832)
  4. J. Upton (2814)
  5. W. Middlebrooks (2812)
  1. D. Ross (2596)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (2385)
  3. J. Shields (1905)
  4. M. Kemp (1844)
  5. D. Haren (1842)