PORT ARTHUR — With the season fast approaching, the new TV home for the Astros is no closer to appearing in local homes. CSN Houston president Matt Hutchings said in an interview Thursday that the network is, “less and less optimistic” that a deal with the remaining cable providers would be struck by Opening Day.
“We have worked extraordinarily hard here in Houston, trying to get deals done,” Hutchings said. “Despite all on-going efforts, we are growing less optimistic by the day that a deal is done by start of season, including Sunday and Tuesday, our first day to cover the team.
“Our goal from day one has been that we wanted full in our five state region. We worked to make it happen by the network’s launch date. We worked to get it done by Opening Day for the Rockets, for the Dynamo and now with the Astros.”
Currently, CSN Houston has distribution deals with parent company Comcast, Phonoscope, Coastal Link, En-Touch and Consolidated Commuication, making up about 40 percent of the Houston TV market. In the Beaumont/Port Arthur area, the network is not carried by any of the major cable providers like Time Warner or DirecTV.
Hutchings said he has proposals out to all the remaining networks and that negotiations are ongoing.
“We have conversations multiple times a day with our counterparts in negotiations,” Hutchings said. “There are multiple components to the deal. There’s a lot going on, and all hands are on deck around here to get a deal done. We are moving everything forward as fast and as furiously as possible.”
On Wednesday, Houston mayor Annise Parker weighed in on the impasse in negotiations at a question and answer session after a city council meeting.
“It’s a real shame that we can’t reach a businesslike resolution to a problem that keeps Houstonians – who have paid for the venues that these teams play in – from watching their hometown teams,” Parker told the Houston Chroncle’s David Barron. “… I encourage all sides to get together. I don’t have a role in this, but as a fan, as someone who cares about sports in Houston, this situation is intolerable and they need to get together and get it done.