After deferring comment since the CSN Houston bankruptcy story broke last month, the Houston Rockets have finally weighed in on the situation.
The Rockets are agreeing with Comcast about keeping the network in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in stark contrast to the Astros desires for the bankruptcy case to be dismissed. Comcast wants a trustee appointed to run the network, taking away the need for unanimous consent of a four member board which includes a representative each from the Astros and Rockets and two from Comcast.
Rockets attorneys also believe that if the bankruptcy case is dismissed, the Astros will be taking back their broadcast rights. The club wasn't paid by the network in the second half of the season. And if the Astros pull their rights from the network, the Rockets claim they will do the same and the network will die.
Essentially, the Rockets are trying to play both sides off of each other. They agree with Comcast that a bankruptcy reorganization is the best way to keep the network alive, but agree with the Astros in their displeasure towards a trustee running the network. Instead, the Rockets are proposing the appointment of a "responsible officer" to run the network and are suggesting a one week negotiation period between the three parties.
It looks like we're finally getting closer to a conclusion in this mess, but the outcome still remains a question. One of the following two situations will happen:
A) the network survives through a combination of Chapter 11 reorganization, negotiation, and compromise, both the Astros and Rockets stay on the network, carriage deals are reached all around the Houston metro area, and everyone lives happily ever after. Or…
B) the bankruptcy case is dismissed, the Astros pull their rights, the Rockets pull their rights, and CSN Houston is dead by the end of the year.
The first option would probably be the best for all parties, because it would be extremely difficult for the Rockets to secure a new broadcast partner for the 2013-14 season (which starts in a matter of days) and for the Astros to secure a new partner for the 2014 season that would pay them an acceptable rights fee, considering the state of the team right now. But after a disastrous year, the end of all of the CSN Houston drama is finally in sight – it just might cost everyone involved everything they've built over the last year.