Houston Sports Teams Continue Mediation with Comcast SportsNet Houston
Wednesday, April, 23, 2014
Mediation in federal court has failed so far to produce a resolution to the ongoing dispute between Houston-area sports teams, The Rockets and The Astros, and Comcast over the involuntary bankruptcy filing of Comcast SportsNet Houston in late 2013.
Comcast SportsNet Houston is the second attempt by the teams to create a team-owned regional sports network. The first involved the FOX television network but did not successfully launch, leading the teams to seek a new partner, which they found in Comcast. The SportsNet Houston network launched in late 2012 and offered exclusive televised games for both the Rockets (in the National Basketball League) and the Astros (in Major League Baseball).
Comcast SportsNet Houston was placed in involuntary Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in September 2013 by its parent company, which the Rockets and Astros claim was done solely to prevent them from severing ties with the company as per their contract. The Astros further claimed that they had not received rights fees owed to them for game broadcasts as stipulated in the contracts, and moved to file an official complaint. Mediation was ordered by the federal court, and the third session, lasting six hours was held on Friday, April 11, 2014, with no resolution. Although described as an “impasse,” mediation will continue with the full cooperation of both sides.