VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Fantasy Sports
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

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Williams: Tuesday's Diamond Notes
Nelson: NL Lefty vs. Righty Splits
Nelson: AL Lefty vs. Righty Splits
Angels end Dodgers' 10-game win streak
Yankees hold off White Sox, 6-5
Indians rally to top Rangers, 15-9
Sale, Moreland help BoSox cool Twins
Nats rally in 9th, but Cubs hold on 5-4
Diamondbacks beat Phillies, 'under' hits
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
9-4 +761 L3 Days, +1,989 TY
17-2 +1,497 Picks, +2,244 Totals
6-0 L6, 12-3 Streak, 9-0 L9 Totals
8-2 +575 L10, +1,321 This Year
+1,143 L6 Days, 10-3 L13 G-Plays
8-2 +611 G-Plays, 17-6 +1,127 Run
10-2 Last 12 Guaranteed Run
3-0, +399 Record Last Night
19-11, +985 L30 Selections
6-1, +527 MLB Win Streak
3-0 +313 Sunday, 5-1 L3 Days
2-0 +285 Y'day, 6-1 +591 L7 Picks
3-0, +332 Last 3 Selections
6-3 L9 Guaranteed Plays
3-0 L2 Days, 22-12 L34 Totals
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants
2017 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 1989
Stephen Nover + 1321
Alex Smart + 1093
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 2189
Vince Akins + 1134
Don Anthony + 965
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 2244
Kyle Hunter + 1116
Joe Williams + 518
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 583
Kevin Rogers + 573
Joe Nelson + 537
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 533
John Fisher + 429
Michael Black + 227
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1529
Antony Dinero + 1071
John Fisher + 761
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