Court ruling to result in new network for Astros and Rockets games

Houston Astros MLB baseball and Houston Rockets NBA basketball games will be provided to a much wider television audience after a judge approved a bankruptcy reorganisation plan involving the two teams’ local rights-holder, Comcast SportsNet Houston.

Judge Marvin Isgur on Thursday approved a Chapter 11 reorganisation plan that will allow satellite-television provider DirecTV and telecommunications company AT&T to purchase Comcast SportsNet Houston.

A new network, which will launch in November as Root Sports Houston, will be carried on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Comcast. It will replace Comcast SportsNet Houston, which launched two years ago but has primarily only been available to Comcast subscribers, representing about 40 per cent of the local television market.

The parent company of financially-troubled Comcast SportsNet Houston was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. The network had struggled as its reach was limited by an ongoing dispute the broadcaster was engaged in with local cable and satellite television providers over the fee it should receive per subscriber.

Both the Astros and Rockets have supported the reorganisation plan. The Astros said in a statement: “We are very pleased with Judge Isgur's confirmation of the plan to reorganise the Network under AT&T and DirecTV. Throughout this long process, our main goal has been to provide broad coverage of Astros games for our fans throughout our region.

“This new network will allow us to achieve this goal. There are still a few obstacles that we have to overcome, but today's decision is a big victory for Astros fans and the City of Houston.”