User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Astros owner files lawsuit over network

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston Astros owner Jim Crane has sued the team's former owner and a pair of media companies, alleging he's lost possibly hundreds of millions of dollars because they misrepresented the value of a regional television network that broadcasts Astros games.

Advertisement
The lawsuit, filed in state court in Houston on Thursday, accuses former Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr., as well as Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal Media of fraud, misrepresentation and conspiracy. The suit also accuses McLane of breach of contract.

Astros games are broadcast in the Houston area on Comcast SportsNet Houston. When Crane bought the Astros in 2011 for $615 million, part of that included a more than 40 percent stake in the regional television network.

But only 40 percent of the city's television households could view games this year; most cable providers in the area did not have carriage agreements.

In his lawsuit, Crane alleges that McLane fraudulently boosted the value of the network by false representing the subscription fees that providers would pay. The lawsuit says McLane knew these rates were ''too high and that other distributors would not agree to pay the rate.''

At a news conference Friday, Crane said the network's failings have cost the team ''tens, probably hundreds'' of millions of dollars in revenue and if the network deal stays in place, losses would continue for years.

''We now face a situation where either we accept millions of dollars in loss each year, with the damage to this franchise and this city for next 20 years, or we fight back,'' Crane said. ''I did not buy this team to have a low payroll and be mediocre. We bought this team to win championships and we bought part of this network so our fans can watch the games.''

In September, affiliates of Comcast filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition on behalf of Comcast SportsNet Houston. The petition was made after the Astros had indicated the team likely would end its agreement with the network. The Astros are asking that the petition be dismissed.

Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, said it rejected any claims of wrongdoing.

''It appears that Mr. Crane is suffering from an extreme case of buyer's remorse, and aiming to blame the network's challenges on anything but his own actions,'' Comcast said in a statement. ''Comcast/NBCUniversal looks forward to vindicating itself in this litigation and also remains committed to a reorganization of the network in bankruptcy court.''

McLane said in a statement the sale of the Astros was ''absolutely transparent'' and his side had provided thousands of pages of documents and answers to all questions that Crane and his representatives had.

''This was one of the most complex and scrutinized transactions of my business career,'' McLane said. ''The accusations that have been reported are hollow and appear to be an attempt to recreate the facts.''

The other partner in the network, the Houston Rockets, is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, even though the suit says that Rockets owner Leslie Alexander also was aware the subscription fees the network was proposing were too high.

The Astros had the lowest payroll in the majors this year at about $29.3 million as they finished a major league-worst 51-111, their third straight 100-loss season.

Crane said the network's ongoing problems won't change plans he had to increase the payroll sign free agents.

''We won't let this alter the on field success,'' he said.

---

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Mets aim for playoffs, AL chase tightens
Mariners tighten wild-card race, top A's
Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
Ortiz delivers another HR, BoSox top Jays
Marte homers to lead Angels over Astros
Diamondbacks power past Padres, 5-3
Merritt wins first start, Indians beat KC
Zobrist powers Cubs to 7-3 win over Reds
Marlins tame Harper, Nats for 7-4 win
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
4-1 L5 Guarantees, +8,788 TY
2-0 Yesterday, +4,570 This Year
6-1 L7 Picks, 5-1 L6 Guarantees
2-0 +269 LN, 3-1 L4 G-Plays
24-14 Record Last 3 Days
33-20, +1,926 L53 Selections
4-0 Record Wednesday
15-7, +870 L22 MLB G-Plays
11-6 L17 Guaranteed Plays
11-5 L16 G-Plays, +3,195 TY
3-0 +368 Picks, 9-4 +640 G-Plays
6-3 Last 9 MLB G-Plays
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks
2016 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 8578
Jim Feist + 4570
John Fisher + 3295
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1944
Jim Feist + 1672
Kevin Rogers + 1292
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 4093
Antony Dinero + 1493
John Fisher + 1315
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jim Feist + 3180
Antony Dinero + 2967
Micah Roberts + 2691
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2813
James Manos + 2759
Micah Roberts + 2541
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1858
Bill Marzano + 1455
Mark Franco + 1360
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership