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ATT Sportsnet channel (Astros)

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by the shark, May 24, 2021.

  1. Marshall Bryant

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    ala cart baseball without paying for stuff you hate in order to get it.
     
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  2. Bury Me in the H

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    An Astros owned channel with live games and classic game broadcasts would be awesome.
     
  3. mtbrays

    mtbrays Contributing Member
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    Coming soon: RocketsVision available exclusively at any Landry's property*. Come watch Victor Wembanyama, Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun and the team lose by 20 to Oklahoma City at Bubba Gump** while enjoying a Louisiana Lemonade and Jenny's Catch with lobster butter sauce.

    * 50% of all televisions in any non-Bubba Gump Landry's Property must air re-runs of the smash CNBC hit "Billion Dollar Buyer"
    ** 50% of all televisions in any given Bubba Gump property must be tuned to a re-broadcast of the 1994 smash hit "Forrest Gump" (with commercials)
     
  4. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    The stand-alone app and streaming capability... or pay per game feature... would be unique to any new network nowadays.

    Or having a sports network that is not solely dependent on carriage rights by major cable/sattelite companies. That's where it gets sticky here as those are the deals that really help these networks secure revenue. Some of the free-standing streaming services (HBOMax, for example) have discovered that not all cord cutters would just subscribe to every single platform.
     
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  5. Marshall Bryant

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    No channel required. Direct to consumer streaming. Do not be held hostage to any chord, channel or carriage.

    But please don't require payment by demonic Google and/or Apple.
     
  6. Marshall Bryant

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    Now it's beginning to sound like a PODCAST.
     
  7. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    This reminds me of Meg Ryan ordering dinner in When Harry Met Sally.
     
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  8. Marshall Bryant

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    Just about everything reminds me of that scene.
     
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  9. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    Seems like really good news...but also makes clear, streaming isn't a money making proposition for these franchises...and definitely not preferable to the RSN model.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/te...att-sportsnet-southwest-purchase-17838568.php

    A decade after losing millions of dollars from the collapse of Comcast SportsNet Houston, the Astros and Rockets are negotiating to get back into the regional sports network business as owners of AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    If negotiations proceed as planned, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, the teams will create a new business entity that will assume ownership of the network from Warner Bros. Discovery.

    While negotiations continue, Astros and Rockets games will continue on AT&T SportsNet Southwest, which has carried both teams since 2014.

    Officials with the Astros, Rockets and Warner Bros. Discovery declined comment on the nature and progress of the negotiations.

    Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns AT&T SportsNet channels in Houston, Denver and Pittsburgh, informed teams last month that it would seek bankruptcy protection for AT&T SportsNet if it could not reach an agreement to arrange new ownership for the networks.

    At the same time, Diamond Sports, which owns 14 RSNs branded as Bally Sports, said it plans to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as this week. Published reports have said the reorganized Diamond Sports could drop money-losing telecast agreements with at least four MLB teams.

    Houston, however, is expected to emerge from the RSN shuffle with local team ownership — a stunning contrast from developments in 2013-14, when the Astros and Rockets lost control of CSN Houston in a bankruptcy court dispute with Comcast. Each team lost more than $100 million in unpaid rights fees plus hundreds of millions of dollars in equity with the collapse of CSN Houston.

    CSN’s Houston collapse resulted in a drawn-out, bitterly contested bankruptcy court settlement that enabled DirecTV and AT&T to buy the network for $1,000 in 2014.

    Comcast and the teams continued to battle in court even after the launch of AT&T SportsNet Southwest in 2014. That dispute, however, was settled last December, which may have been an early indicator that the teams anticipated the decision by Warner Bros. Discovery to get out of the regional sports network business.

    The Houston channel, which will get a new name once the Astros and Rockets take ownership, will join team-owned RSNs in several markets, among them New York, Seattle and Boston, that thus far have avoided the worst of the financial woes enveloping Bally Sports and AT&T SportsNet.

    Under the proposal, the Rockets and Astros would acquire AT&T SportsNet Southwest and with it the license to telecast their games. The Astros owned 60 percent and the Rockets 40 percent of their previous joint venture before bringing in Comcast as a partner in 2010 for the CSN Houston launch, but it was unclear if those percentages would continue for the new venture.

    The Houston teams are in a stronger position than some of their counterparts because they have distribution contracts for their games through 2032 with Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV. The Comcast deal originated with the launch of CSN Houston in 2012, and AT&T and DirecTV signed on with the 2014 launch of AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    AT&T SportsNet Southwest is available to be acquired because WBD is seeking to reduce debt and pare down expenses, focusing on such national channels as HBO, HGTV, Discovery Channel, CNN, TBS and TNT, and regional sports do not fit with that business plan.

    The RSN business has been affected by cord-cutting, skyrocketing rights fees for professional sports teams and corporate mergers and acquisitions over the last five years. Fewer subscribers to services like Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse, coupled with Dish Network’s decision not to carry RSNs, have resulted in a sharp decline in the monthly fees that carriers use to pay rights fees.

    AT&T SportsNet, for example, receives an estimated $6 per month from every subscriber to the three carriers within the five-county Houston inner market, plus lesser fees from subscribers in the other 15 counties within the Houston designated market area and from subscribers in other parts of the five-state Astros broadcast zone and elsewhere.

    However, with fewer subscribers to traditional pay TV services, RSN proceeds aren’t enough to pay rights fees and pare down debt.

    Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV in the Houston market area totaled about 1.5 million subscribers in 2014, the year AT&T SportsNet Southwest launched. That number fell to 1.36 million in 2018 and 855,000 in the third quarter of 2022, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

    There are approximately 2.4 million TV households in the Houston area, but many households do not have pay TV services or subscribe to carriers such as Suddenlink or Dish Network that never carried CSN Houston or AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    Based on court documents filed in conjunction with the bankruptcy and ongoing litigation, the Astros and Rockets are believed to be making about $120 million in combined rights fees this year, with about $72 million for the Astros and $48 million for the Rockets.

    Analysts have estimated that local rights fees account for 10 percent to 30 percent of income for some teams, making them a necessity to help meet increasing player payrolls.

    Teams and leagues hope to make up for a portion of the drop in pay TV subscribers by beefing up streaming opportunities. However, streaming is not viewed as a cost-effective replacement for the RSN system.

    Carriers such as Comcast pay network carriage fees for every subscriber whose service tier includes an RSN, even if they do not watch a minute of sports programming.

    In Houston, as an example, Comcast Xfinity charges a $10.99 RSN fee per month to help cover the costs of carrying AT&T SportsNet and Bally Sports Southwest, which carries Rangers games plus the Dallas Stars and the NBA Spurs, Hornets, Mavericks and Thunder.

    While streaming adds eyeballs, analysts say it doesn’t do much for the bottom line.

    “Streaming economics are negative margin economics, which is a fancy way of saying that for every dollar you spend, you lose a buck 50,” said Patrick Crakes, a former executive with Fox Sports. “And it keeps getting worse, not better.

    “The Astros, for example, can’t go direct to consumer (streaming) because they won't ever make as much money as they're making from the current system. Even if you went through bankruptcy and the judge said to the MLB teams, you’ve got to take a 20 percent cut and stay in the system, or you can leave, they wouldn’t leave because they can’t make any money on (streaming) and they need the rights fees or they can’t make payroll.”

    Still, the proposed acquisition of AT&T SportsNet Southwest could put the Astros and Rockets in a better position relative to some of their counterparts whose games air on the Bally Sports channels.

    The New York Post reported this week that a reorganized Diamond Sports would drop its contracts with the Padres, Reds, Guardians and Diamondbacks, leaving MLB to take over distribution of their games.

    As part of the acquisition of AT&T SportsNet Southwest, the Rockets and Astros will acquire the contracts of current network employes, including studio hosts and field reporters such as Julia Morales and Kevin Eschenfelder. The teams already employ play-by-play and color analysts such as Todd Kalas and Geoff Blum with the Astros.
     
  10. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/te...att-sportsnet-southwest-purchase-17838568.php

    A decade after losing millions of dollars from the collapse of Comcast SportsNet Houston, the Astros and Rockets are negotiating to get back into the regional sports network business as owners of AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    If negotiations proceed as planned, according to sources with knowledge of the talks, the teams will create a new business entity that will assume ownership of the network from Warner Bros. Discovery.

    While negotiations continue, Astros and Rockets games will continue on AT&T SportsNet Southwest, which has carried both teams since 2014.

    Officials with the Astros, Rockets and Warner Bros. Discovery declined comment on the nature and progress of the negotiations.

    Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns AT&T SportsNet channels in Houston, Denver and Pittsburgh, informed teams last month that it would seek bankruptcy protection for AT&T SportsNet if it could not reach an agreement to arrange new ownership for the networks.

    At the same time, Diamond Sports, which owns 14 RSNs branded as Bally Sports, said it plans to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as this week. Published reports have said the reorganized Diamond Sports could drop money-losing telecast agreements with at least four MLB teams.

    Houston, however, is expected to emerge from the RSN shuffle with local team ownership — a stunning contrast from developments in 2013-14, when the Astros and Rockets lost control of CSN Houston in a bankruptcy court dispute with Comcast. Each team lost more than $100 million in unpaid rights fees plus hundreds of millions of dollars in equity with the collapse of CSN Houston.

    CSN’s Houston collapse resulted in a drawn-out, bitterly contested bankruptcy court settlement that enabled DirecTV and AT&T to buy the network for $1,000 in 2014.

    Comcast and the teams continued to battle in court even after the launch of AT&T SportsNet Southwest in 2014. That dispute, however, was settled last December, which may have been an early indicator that the teams anticipated the decision by Warner Bros. Discovery to get out of the regional sports network business.

    The Houston channel, which will get a new name once the Astros and Rockets take ownership, will join team-owned RSNs in several markets, among them New York, Seattle and Boston, that thus far have avoided the worst of the financial woes enveloping Bally Sports and AT&T SportsNet.

    Under the proposal, the Rockets and Astros would acquire AT&T SportsNet Southwest and with it the license to telecast their games. The Astros owned 60 percent and the Rockets 40 percent of their previous joint venture before bringing in Comcast as a partner in 2010 for the CSN Houston launch, but it was unclear if those percentages would continue for the new venture.

    The Houston teams are in a stronger position than some of their counterparts because they have distribution contracts for their games through 2032 with Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV. The Comcast deal originated with the launch of CSN Houston in 2012, and AT&T and DirecTV signed on with the 2014 launch of AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    AT&T SportsNet Southwest is available to be acquired because WBD is seeking to reduce debt and pare down expenses, focusing on such national channels as HBO, HGTV, Discovery Channel, CNN, TBS and TNT, and regional sports do not fit with that business plan.

    The RSN business has been affected by cord-cutting, skyrocketing rights fees for professional sports teams and corporate mergers and acquisitions over the last five years. Fewer subscribers to services like Comcast Xfinity, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse, coupled with Dish Network’s decision not to carry RSNs, have resulted in a sharp decline in the monthly fees that carriers use to pay rights fees.

    AT&T SportsNet, for example, receives an estimated $6 per month from every subscriber to the three carriers within the five-county Houston inner market, plus lesser fees from subscribers in the other 15 counties within the Houston designated market area and from subscribers in other parts of the five-state Astros broadcast zone and elsewhere.

    However, with fewer subscribers to traditional pay TV services, RSN proceeds aren’t enough to pay rights fees and pare down debt.

    Comcast, AT&T and DirecTV in the Houston market area totaled about 1.5 million subscribers in 2014, the year AT&T SportsNet Southwest launched. That number fell to 1.36 million in 2018 and 855,000 in the third quarter of 2022, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

    There are approximately 2.4 million TV households in the Houston area, but many households do not have pay TV services or subscribe to carriers such as Suddenlink or Dish Network that never carried CSN Houston or AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

    Based on court documents filed in conjunction with the bankruptcy and ongoing litigation, the Astros and Rockets are believed to be making about $120 million in combined rights fees this year, with about $72 million for the Astros and $48 million for the Rockets.

    Analysts have estimated that local rights fees account for 10 percent to 30 percent of income for some teams, making them a necessity to help meet increasing player payrolls.

    Teams and leagues hope to make up for a portion of the drop in pay TV subscribers by beefing up streaming opportunities. However, streaming is not viewed as a cost-effective replacement for the RSN system.

    Carriers such as Comcast pay network carriage fees for every subscriber whose service tier includes an RSN, even if they do not watch a minute of sports programming.

    In Houston, as an example, Comcast Xfinity charges a $10.99 RSN fee per month to help cover the costs of carrying AT&T SportsNet and Bally Sports Southwest, which carries Rangers games plus the Dallas Stars and the NBA Spurs, Hornets, Mavericks and Thunder.

    While streaming adds eyeballs, analysts say it doesn’t do much for the bottom line.

    “Streaming economics are negative margin economics, which is a fancy way of saying that for every dollar you spend, you lose a buck 50,” said Patrick Crakes, a former executive with Fox Sports. “And it keeps getting worse, not better.

    “The Astros, for example, can’t go direct to consumer (streaming) because they won't ever make as much money as they're making from the current system. Even if you went through bankruptcy and the judge said to the MLB teams, you’ve got to take a 20 percent cut and stay in the system, or you can leave, they wouldn’t leave because they can’t make any money on (streaming) and they need the rights fees or they can’t make payroll.”

    Still, the proposed acquisition of AT&T SportsNet Southwest could put the Astros and Rockets in a better position relative to some of their counterparts whose games air on the Bally Sports channels.

    The New York Post reported this week that a reorganized Diamond Sports would drop its contracts with the Padres, Reds, Guardians and Diamondbacks, leaving MLB to take over distribution of their games.

    As part of the acquisition of AT&T SportsNet Southwest, the Rockets and Astros will acquire the contracts of current network employes, including studio hosts and field reporters such as Julia Morales and Kevin Eschenfelder. The teams already employ play-by-play and color analysts such as Todd Kalas and Geoff Blum with the Astros.
     
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    That seems like good news to me...in that the Astros and Rockets will directly own the station. Interesting parts about how streaming isn't a money maker for pro sports franchises:

    While streaming adds eyeballs, analysts say it doesn’t do much for the bottom line.

    “Streaming economics are negative margin economics, which is a fancy way of saying that for every dollar you spend, you lose a buck 50,” said Patrick Crakes, a former executive with Fox Sports. “And it keeps getting worse, not better.

    “The Astros, for example, can’t go direct to consumer (streaming) because they won't ever make as much money as they're making from the current system. Even if you went through bankruptcy and the judge said to the MLB teams, you’ve got to take a 20 percent cut and stay in the system, or you can leave, they wouldn’t leave because they can’t make any money on (streaming) and they need the rights fees or they can’t make payroll.”
     
  12. Bury Me in the H

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    So there will still be blackouts. Wack.
     
  13. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    yeah, that's a league wide issue...that wasn't going to be solved because of this specific regional issue
     
  14. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    While the prospect of potentially not needing to get Fubo during the season appealed to me, I was worried it would have cost the Astros money if they depended on direct to consumer streming via MLB (i.e., made it more difficult for Crane to have as big a budget for the Astros).
     
    MadMax likes this.
  15. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Streaming needs a vendor just like RSN’s need cable/satellite companies to carry the channel.

    apple, yahoo, Amazon, YouTube… are the new “cable/satellite” companies that will eventually strike deals with all the sports to carry games.

    I thought MLB wanted to control streaming rights for all teams and this was a potential opportunity for that… but if it didn’t make financial sense for the teams over the archaic RSN model, it was never going to happen.

    What is not being said is that while teams do make money with these deals, the RSN’s continue to struggle and are going out of business. Probably because they’re overpaying teams for the rights. Something has to give.
     
  16. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    I’m just curious to know what Crane and the Rockets are going to do that suddenly makes RSN’s more profitable vs. what they’re going through now?
     
    marks0223 likes this.

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