Skip to content

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

Nov 23, 2013, 12:46 PM EDT

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. Doug Fister recently had skin cancer removed from his neck

    Aug 23, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Doug Fister AP AP

    Nationals right-hander Doug Fister revealed last night that he had skin cancer removed from the left side of his neck this week.

  2. Drew Smyly has been really good since joining the Rays

    Aug 23, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

    Drew Smyly AP AP

    Many around the game were underwhelmed when the Rays acquired Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames in the three-team David Price deal last month. It will probably take years before we can make a fair assessment, but the early returns are positive for Tampa Bay.

  3. Position player pitching alert: The Tigers turned to Andrew Romine in a blowout

    Aug 23, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

    Andrew Romine AP AP

    The Tigers turned to infielder Andrew Romine to pitch in a blowout last night.

  4. Settling the Score: Friday’s results

    Aug 23, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Sean Doolittle AP AP

    A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including an important AL West battle.

  5. Garrett Richards underwent surgery to repair his left knee

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:55 PM EDT

    Garrett Richards Garrett Richards

    Garrett Richards had surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee, meaning he’ll be out between six and nine months.

  6. MLB.tv’s blackout restrictions could be over in 2015

    Aug 22, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    old TV

    The frustrating blackout restrictions could come to an end as early as 2015, according to Maury Brown of Forbes.

  7. Felix Hernandez reaches 200 strikeouts for a sixth consecutive season

    Aug 22, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez

    Felix Hernandez has struck out 200-plus batters in each of the last six seasons, something no other starting pitcher will have done when the season is over.

  8. Mike Minor loses his no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    Mike Minor Mike Minor

    Mike Minor is on point in Cincinnati against the Reds on Friday night.

  9. Giants aren’t ready to take Buster Posey out from behind the plate yet

    Aug 22, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT

    Buster Posey Buster Posey

    The Giants don’t have any plans to move Buster Posey out from behind the plate just yet, even though his numbers are much better as a first baseman.

  10. Dodgers moving Triple-A affiliate from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City in 2015

    Aug 22, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    The Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate will reportedly move from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the 2015 season.

  11. Kyle Lohse to rejoin Brewers’ rotation on Monday

    Aug 22, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT

    Kyle Lohse Getty Images

    Kyle Lohse was dealing with a sore right ankle, but is expected to rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Monday to start against the Padres.

  12. Manny Machado to undergo season-ending knee surgery

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    manny machado o's getty Getty Images

    Manny Machado’s season is likely over, as he is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery within a week, according to a report.

  13. The Angels may have trouble getting starting pitching on waivers

    Aug 22, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT

    Bartolo Colon Bartolo Colon

    According to Peter Gammons, the Orioles and Yankees are “claiming everyone” on waivers, which will make it difficult for the Angels to improve their starting rotation after losing Garrett Richards.

  14. Javier Baez hit the ball really far again, trails only … Mandy Brooks?

    Aug 22, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    Javier Baez Getty Getty Images

    His latest, a solo shot off Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

  15. A’s send Dan Otero back to Triple-A with 7-1 record, 2.28 ERA

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Dan Otero A's AP

    Sometimes the life of a player with a minor-league option remaining just isn’t fair.

  16. Albuquerque Isotopes to give away Joc Pederson’s 1994 Buick Century

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:36 PM EDT

    Buick Century

    One window doesn’t work and there is no air conditioning. It has 166,000 miles on it. Which, actually, isn’t that bad. Hmmm . . .

  17. A’s activate Craig Gentry from the disabled list

    Aug 22, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT

    Craig Gentry A's AP

    Oakland’s outfield depth just got a little stronger with Craig Gentry coming off the disabled list after missing the past month with a broken hand.

  18. HBT Daily: it’s showdown time for the Angels and A’s

    Aug 22, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    Seven games in ten days for the AL West leaders

  19. No timetable for Manny Machado’s return to the Orioles

    Aug 22, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT

    manny machado o's getty Getty Images

    Machado suffered a sprained right knee on August 11 and the Orioles have mostly been using Chris Davis at third base in his absence.

  20. The Cubs grounds crew was short staffed because the Cubs were trying to avoid Obamacare

    Aug 22, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

    cubs logo

    This has been such a fun story so far. So why NOT throw politics into it?

Featured video

Can Angels recoup loss of Richards?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (5053)
  2. M. Cuddyer (2587)
  3. K. Bryant (2355)
  4. W. Myers (2031)
  5. G. Richards (2028)
  1. H. Ramirez (1988)
  2. D. Ortiz (1978)
  3. A. Cashner (1864)
  4. J. Hamilton (1845)
  5. A. McCutchen (1806)