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. Report: Red Sox finalizing a deal with Hanley Ramirez

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:41 PM EST

    hanley ramirez getty Getty Images

    The Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez will finalize a deal on Monday in the range of five years and $90 million, according to Ken Rosenthal.

  2. Astros showing interest in David Robertson

    Nov 23, 2014, 11:10 PM EST

    Reuters David Robertson Reuters

    The Astros, in the market for a top-end closer, have spoken to the agent of David Robertson.

  3. MLB players react to Odell Beckham, Jr. catch on Sunday Night Football

    Nov 23, 2014, 10:20 PM EST

    Odell Beckham Jr. Odell Beckham Jr.

    Giants receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a ridiculous catch on Sunday Night Football. MLB players reacted to it on Twitter.

  4. Rangers have spoken with the Braves about Justin Upton

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:35 PM EST

    Justin Upton

    The Braves have been shopping Justin Upton and the Rangers are interested.

  5. Marlins have discussed trading for Wade Miley

    Nov 23, 2014, 7:15 PM EST

    Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks Getty Images

    The Marlins have discussed swapping Nathan Eovaldi for Wade Miley.

  6. Red Sox going after both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez

    Nov 23, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez

    The Red Sox could revamp the left side of their infield if they have their way in free agency.

  7. Pirates trade first baseman Ike Davis to the A’s

    Nov 23, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    ike davis getty Getty Images

    Davis was designated for assignment by the Bucs a couple of days ago to open up a 40-man roster spot for top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon. Now the first baseman is headed to Oakland.

  8. “At least six” teams interested in Jon Lester

    Nov 23, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    jon lester a's getty Getty Images

    The Red Sox and Cubs have long been considered the favorites to sign free agent Jon Lester, with the Braves and Cardinals also lingering. But there may be a surprise coming.

  9. Indians acquire Charles Brewer from the Diamondbacks

    Nov 23, 2014, 12:03 PM EST

    indians logo

    Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians have acquired right-hander Charles Brewer from the Diamondbacks in exchange for cash.

  10. Torii Hunter “favors the Twins”

    Nov 23, 2014, 10:51 AM EST

    th getty Getty Images

    Torii Hunter could be headed back to where it all began.

  11. Video: Introducing new commissioner Rob Manfred

    Nov 23, 2014, 9:44 AM EST

    manfred getty Getty Images

    Watch as former MLB commissioner Bud Selig introduces new commissioner Rob Manfred …

  12. Diamondbacks trade Mike Bolsinger to the Dodgers

    Nov 22, 2014, 10:35 PM EST

    Mike Bolsinger Mike Bolsinger

    The Dodgers added some pitching depth, picking up Mike Bolsinger from the Diamondbacks on Saturday.

  13. Wily Mo Pena is a free agent and the Twins are interested

    Nov 22, 2014, 9:30 PM EST

    wily mo pena reuters

    Wily Mo Pena could be back in the major leagues if the Twins are willing to play ball.

  14. Derek Jeter went golfing with President Obama

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:25 PM EST

    Derek Jeter AP AP

    Are they looking to hire a caddie?

  15. Rockies sign John Lannan to a minor league deal

    Nov 22, 2014, 7:20 PM EST

    John Lannan Getty Getty Images

    The Rockies added a bit of pitching depth, signing John Lannan to a minor league deal.

  16. If Giants can’t bring back Pablo Sandoval, they’re expected to bid on Yasmany Tomas

    Nov 22, 2014, 6:15 PM EST

    yasmany tomas getty Getty Images

    The Giants have a Plan B if they can’t bring back Pablo Sandoval.

  17. Reds sign Josh Satin

    Nov 22, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

    Josh Satin Mets Getty Images

    Satin spent parts of the past four seasons in the majors with the Mets.

  18. Henry Blanco leaves Diamondbacks for Cubs coaching staff

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Henry Blanco Getty Getty Images

    Blanco played for the Cubs from 2005-2008.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (4704)
  2. Y. Tomas (3182)
  3. J. Lester (2997)
  4. G. Stanton (2665)
  5. A. LaRoche (2426)
  1. J. Upton (2410)
  2. T. Hunter (2346)
  3. M. Scherzer (2158)
  4. B. Butler (1949)
  5. H. Ramirez (1834)