Astros release statement regarding agreement with Comcast

The following is a statement from the Astros regarding their agreement with Comcast:


“The Astros and Rockets look forward to continuing our partnership in our regional sports network, and we are excited to have Comcast join the group.  Comcast’s expertise in the management and delivery of sports coverage in networks across the country will bring many positives to the brands and presentations of our teams.  Comcast SportsNet Houston will be an exciting way to view our local sports teams starting with the Rockets preseason games in 2012.”


Alyson – Does this mean that AT&T U-verse customers will no longer be able to receive FSN?

Hopefully we’ll be getting more exact details ASAP…most importantly, what will non-Comcast customers do?

And even more importantly, what happens with Brownie and J. D.? Aren’t they Fox employees?

I sent you an email about this very topic, although I’m not sure you ever got it. There are a number of bloggers who feel that this is the first step in domination of the airwaves by the Rangers. The Astros’ having their own network is no guarantee that it will be carried by the various local service providers, and if the station isn’t supported in their area, the bloggers propose that the casual fan isn’t going to pony up the $$ for MLB.TV to watch the Astros (particularly without Brownie and J. D.!). They’ll just keep watching Fox Sports like they always have–and become Rangers’ fans. (read the comments section on this one)

Thanks for all your hard work. You, Brownie, and J. D. make it easy to be an Astros’ fan, even when the team doesn’t. . . .

One more question about the cable deal. Usually when the Astros are not on FSN, they are on local channel 51 in Houston. Would this still continue to be the case, or would the rights on this channel be determined by the new comcast channel?

I’m not really concerned. I’ll follow my team however I have to. My only worry is possibly losing J.D. & Patti Smith. That would be a MAJOR downer (sorry Brownie & Lucas).

Regarding the “Rangers take over Texas” threads (there are a few threads & blogs); If someone switches teams because of TV stations, they weren’t really a fan to begin with.

blackcap, don’t you think that’s unfair? Imagine you’re in the middle of a contract with Company X and they don’t want to negotiate rights with Comcast to carry the Astros games. You’re suddenly stuck with no way whatsoever to watch the Astros until your contract runs out (could be a long as two full years), have immediate access to the Rangers, and cannot watch the Astros because they felt it necessary to part with a good Fox Sports service and alienate their fans for ONE reason; more money. You can’t see how some people might be upset and disillusioned with a franchise in that situation, especially one that did all that despite being mired in ineptitude and non-competitiveness?

You’re actually correct, sort of, blackcap–which is why I said that the CASUAL fan would be switching allegiance. But how does a casual fan go from casual to die-hard without easy access? To make my point, I know a fairly large number of Cubs fans in my area of Texas–and each and every one of them said that they grew up a Cubs fan because they got WGN and could always watch Cubs games on TV. I think the concerns over this move are well-founded, as I’ve already expressed.

Unfair? – no. Possible exceptions to my thoughts? – absolutely.

If someone is a dyed-in-the-wool fan of a team, they may have differences of opinion with the owner, they may even hate the owner, they may hate the cable company, they may dislike a lot of things that aren’t “the team”. However, if they stop following that team just as a symbol of protest or because the broadcasts aren’t available to them, then I don’t think they were ever as deep a fan as they may want to portray themselves.

I spent about ten years living in NYC & then L.A. I almost never got to see the Astros on TV or in person, but I didn’t stop following them and switch to being a Mets or Dodgers fan. I followed them through the daily box scores in the local paper, newspaper reports the day after the local team played them, and occasional network broadcasts. I found a way. And that was during the McMullen years – an owner I most certainly did not like.

I watched the local teams on TV because I love the game, but I was still an Astros fan. Casual fans may switch allegiance, but I think very few hard core fans will. As far as why someone may be a life-long fan – you get here however you get here – TV as a kid, proximity to the ballpark, family, etc. I think Danyah’s example illustrates the point perfectly. Those Cubs fans stayed Cubs fans, even though they no longer live there.

Blackcap, your wrong that not being on TV won’t hurt the fan base. I am a panhandle native that was raised on the west coast. All my favorite teams are from the Dallas area except baseball for one reason. In the ’70’s and ’80’s when I started watching baseball, the Rangers never got on TV. As a Texas native, I wanted to root for a Texas team, but I wanted to see them as well. So I root for the Astros through good times and bad. Its not about the established die-hard fan. How do you attract new fans if they don’t see you? Like it or not, the Cubs and Braves owe much of their fan base to easy TV access.

One more thought, Do you think the NHL is happy taking the extra money from Comcast, but losing the exposure they had with their ESPN contract? Not a chance.

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