Monday, October 21, 2013

Is Local TV Revenue Mini-Bubble Bursting?

I'm a little late getting around to this post, but while some teams continue to rake it in from recently-negotiated television deals, there's more evidence the bubble may have burst for mid-market teams negotiating monster cable deals.

Following the involuntary bankruptcy of Comcast SportsNet Houston, The Biz of Baseball wrote:
The Houston Astros, who are the majority stakeholders in the fledgling RSN appeared to be caught off-guard by the action saying that Comcast “improperly filed” the petition “in an attempt to prevent the Astros from terminating the Media Rights Agreement between the Astros and Houston Regional Sports Network.”

The Astros added in their statement that CSN Houston “failed to pay the Astros media rights fees in July, August and September”, adding that they had “invested additional money in order to keep the network viable through our season.”
The Astros were reportedly making somewhere in the $80M/yr range this year, but apparently that's not the case. It seems the early years of a monster TV contract doesn't pay as well as the latter years:
One of the Astros' biggest problems appears that their cable channel, CSN Houston, is only seen on about 40 percent of households in the Houston region. That makes the news of their recently-signed cable deal even more impressive, but maybe the reports weren't accurate....and maybe the money won't be there if the Rays decide to wait until 2017 to renegotiate their contract.

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