Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed on behalf of CSN Houston

Bob Levey

The struggling CSN Houston has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and it's not immediately clear what that means for the network.

This evening, David Barron of the Houston Chronicle reported that CSN Houston has officially had a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition filed on their behalf following a disappointing few months that has seen them continue to struggle with carriage issues.

Here's Barron's story:

Affiliates of Comcast/NBC Universal filed an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Friday in Houston on behalf of the struggling Comcast SportsNet Houston regional sports network that it owns along with the Rockets and Astros.

When reached for comment, the Astros responded with a very strongly worded statement:

Comcast has improperly filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition in an attempt to prevent the Astros from terminating the Media Rights Agreement between the Astros and Houston Regional Sports Network. HRSN failed to pay the Astros media rights fees in July, August and September, and we have invested additional money in order to keep the network viable through our season.

Despite not receiving our media rights fees, our objective has not changed. We will continue to work toward obtaining full carriage so that all of our fans are able to watch the Astros games while making sure that the Astros are able to compete for championships.

The Rockets did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Let's just say that things have gotten a little ugly. The network and the teams have tried to preach unity through this process so far, but with this filing, the divide between the two becomes quite clear. In July, we reported exclusively that the network was in danger of bankruptcy, and so today's result should come as little surprise.

From the start, there were so many difficulties starting a network like this without full carriage. With money constantly needing to be put into the network, investors with the Astros were asked for money nearly every month. And with so many minority owners in the Astros camp, it wasn't just Jim Crane and Les Alexander putting money in for these cash calls, but rather a number of less wealthy partners.

At this point, we don't know exactly what this means, but as the days go on, the future of CSN Houston and the broadcast of the Houston Rockets and Astros will be clearer. Stay here as we will keep you updated with every twist and turn.

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