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Chron: FSN: Rockets network a "sham"

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Free Agent, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. Free Agent

    Free Agent Member

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    FSN aims at Astros with suit

    Network describes 2-team conspiracy

    By DAVID BARRON
    Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle
    Fox Sports Net on Monday accused the Rockets and Astros not only of trying to break the baseball team's television contract with an illegal, "sham" conspiracy to start their own regional sports network, it blamed the Astros in part for its inability to sign a new broadcast contract with the Rockets this season.

    In an 11-page document filed in 333rd State District Court, FSN seeks monetary damages from both teams and asks the court, in effect, to scuttle the proposed Houston Regional Sports Network that the teams hope will show Rockets games starting in 2005 and Astros games in 2006.

    "This whole deal is a sham," said Jon Heidtke, general manager of FSN's Southwest regional network. "What they (the teams) are trying to do is illegal."

    The Astros filed suit against FSN on Feb. 28, seeking to exit a long-term contract the team signed with the network in 1998.

    The contract allows the Astros to leave FSN after the 2005 season if they receive a third-party offer with better terms, and they claim they received such an offer from the network Rockets owner Leslie Alexander hopes to launch in the summer of 2005.

    To match the offer and retain the team's broadcast rights, the Astros claim FSN is required to pay more than $260 million for rights fees and for the value of the Astros' share in the proposed Houston sports network.

    FSN responded Monday, as expected, by saying the proposed network offer was improper and illegal and that the Rockets were guilty of interfering in the FSN-Astros relationship. But they also expanded the boundaries of the dispute by accusing the Astros of interfering in their efforts to sign a new deal with the Rockets this season.

    "Our business is having local sports teams on the network," Heidtke said. "We had discussions with the Rockets in January to talk about a relationship that would keep them on the air for the foreseeable future. So the timing of this (the Rockets-Astros network announcement) was somewhat surprising."

    FSN asks the court to declare that the offer by Houston Regional Sports Network to the Astros is not a "covered offer" as allowed under the contract.

    It claims such an offer can be made only in 2005, to take effect with the 2006 season, and also claims that since the Astros will become a partner in the new network, the team is, essentially, making an offer to itself.

    "The Astros themselves would be the majority owner behind the proposed regional sports network. It's far from an arm's-length deal and clearly prohibited by our contract," Heidtke said. "My calendar still reads 2003. (So) not only is what they're trying to do illegal under the contract; they're trying to pull the trigger two years early."

    FSN also asks the court to declare that the Rockets and Astros entered "into a full conspiracy of a common design to cause significant damage to Fox" and that each team is guilty of tortious interference in the cable network's relationship with the other team.
     
  2. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member
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    didn't someone say that not being on FSN is one reason we almost never get Bill and Calvin on League Pass? if so, F the teams for that. screw the stros, i already get the games in austin, stop F***ing around with my Bill and Calvin broadcasts.

    if that's not the case, then ummm, screw LP for no bill and calvin.
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    I think the FSN deal with the Rockets is pretty simple. The Rockets had some of the worst ratings in the history of the team last year and Fox wanted to exploit that in the new contract. The Rockets drafted Yao Ming #1 in the draft and anticipated a HUGE ratings boost (which they got, by the way) and wanted to exploit that in the new contract. Neither side could agree and the Rockets got a fail-safe in KNWS.

    Yes, part of the reason Bill and Calvin aren't on League Pass is because FSN holds an exclusive rights contract with the NBA and League Pass. That isn't the fault of the Rockets. The Rockets probably just wanted the best deal possible and they couldn't come to an agreement with FSN. Big deal. This season, from that perspective, is history.

    I wonder with what has been said if this just isn't bad timing on the part of the Stros and Rockets. The Astros seem pretty damn locked up and the Rockets very likely need them in order to make the network fly. This will be interesting to watch.
     
  4. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member
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    tis no big deal lest ye are not getting your daily calvin and bill fix. i was starting to have withdrawal until spring break when i got to hear 3 games by them. i think i've heard more bill from sportscenter highlights for the rox than i actually have on league pass. so since this new network thing isn't supposed to happen till 2005 apparently and i guess KNWS was only a one year deal, Jeff do you have any idea how it's looking for next year in terms of which network will carry them?
     
  5. UTrocket

    UTrocket Member

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    What is this network going to broadcast during the other 20 hrs of the day? And during the offseason?
     
  6. barbourdg

    barbourdg Contributing Member

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    333rd district court? Thats funny, I used to be the Trial Coordinator for that court (10 years ago).
     
  7. jlaw718

    jlaw718 Contributing Member

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    Wow. What's funnier is I clerked in that court for a year and a half until this past Christmas when I made the move to a firm. Small world, huh?:)
     
  8. neXXes

    neXXes Member

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    Well, on NESN they usually broadcast ESPNews when games aren't on, so I'm sure this network will do something similar.
     
  9. Miguel

    Miguel Contributing Member

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    Rockets/Astros classic anyone? :D


    1994 finals from start to finish once a month. :p


    Kiss of death shown 2 times a week.

    Oh the possibilities.

    Nolan Ryan, Hakeem, Rudy, :eek:
     
  10. wizkid83

    wizkid83 Contributing Member

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    A regional network would be so sweet, seriously, how can u watch to much double clutch?
     
  11. TBar

    TBar Contributing Member

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    We get very few games in Beaumont, and I know there are a lot of Rockets fans here. I hope the new network can get us more games.

    We cannot get Chan 51 here.
     
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