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Root Sports Launching In Houston

Jason Barrett

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AT&T and DirecTV were granted a clear path Thursday to launch Root Sports Houston, the new television home for Astros and Rockets games, and to begin televising Rockets games as early as this month.

Based on an agreement between Comcast lawyers and attorneys for AT&T, DirecTV, the Astros and Rockets, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes dissolved the last court-imposed delay against closing the new network deal.

However, it remains unclear when Comcast SportsNet Houston, the teams’ current home, will fade to black and Root Sports Houston, which will have carriage on DirecTV and AT&T U-verse in addition to Comcast cable, will take its place.

“There’s still a process. We don’t have an announcement on when this will allow us to (launch the new network),” said Rockets general counsel Rafael Stone. “But there’s a clear path with no more legal obstacles.”

Attorneys reached an agreement that allows Comcast to continue its appeal on financial aspects of the year-long CSN Houston bankruptcy case and for the teams to close on the transactions that will accompany the network sale and the transfer of their broadcast rights to Root Sports Houston.

Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur on Oct. 30 approved a reorganization plan that approved the sale of the Astros-Rockets-Comcast-owned network to AT&T and DirecTV. He also imposed a 14-day stay to allow Comcast to appeal the ruling.

Comcast appealed Isgur’s ruling to Hughes and sought to stay the decision while it appealed.

However, Comcast attorneys said Wednesday their primary motive on appeal will be to recoup a $100 million loan granted CSN Houston for startup costs in 2012 and that they would not stand in the way of launching the new network.

Attorneys for the teams, in turn, agreed the new network’s launch would not be viewed as nullifying Comcast’s rights on appeal.

Accordingly. Hughes denied the motion to stay Isgur’s order and also terminated the automatic stay granted by the bankruptcy court.

Attorneys earlier indicated the new network could launch on Nov. 14, but DirecTV would not confirm that date. CSN Houston’s current telecast schedule now extends through Sunday, Nov. 16.

“It’s great for the city,” said Rockets owner Leslie Alexander. “It’s great for the Rockets fans, and I’m thrilled. Thank you very much to Judge Hughes for letting fans be able to watch the Rockets.”

Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe added, “We’re ready to get the games on TV. It’s great to start the Rockets’ season. It’s great for the fans of Houston. It’s an exciting time.”

Under the reorganization plan approved by Isgur, the teams and Comcast will lose their network equity, and the teams agreed to forego immediate payment of more than $100 million in unpaid rights fees.

Only 45 of the 141 CSN Houston employees will be retained by the new network, which will show Rockets and Astros games but will not retain CSN Houston’s news and talk shows.

Comcast will continue to contest Isgur’s determination that Comcast is not due full repayment of its $100 million secured loan. Comcast is now scheduled to receive only $26 million.

Attorneys met behind closed doors for more than 90 minutes Wednesday and also met with Hughes, who apparently encouraged a settlement that would enable him to avoid having to rule on the stay request.

“One reason I want to handle this as expeditiously as possible is so I can get rid of you guys,” he said. “This hasn’t been much fun the last 15 months.”

Attorneys now will work on legal briefings related to the financial issues, which may be discussed after the Thanksgiving holidays.

CSN Houston launched in October 2012 but was never available on DirecTV, U-verse, Dish Network or Suddenlink cable. Limited carriage resulted in limited revenue, and Comcast filed to put the network into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2013 when the Astros said they would retake their broadcast rights because of unpaid rights fees.

Credit to the Houston Chronicle who originally posted this article

Sports Radio News

670 The Score Hosts Congratulate Mike Mulligan on Award From Loyola Chicago

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

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670 The Score morning host Mike Mulligan is being awarded the Father Finnegan Memorial Award from Loyola University Chicago this weekend, and some of his colleagues congratulated him on the air Friday morning.

The award is given “in recognition of outstanding humanitarianism and service to youth through athletics”. Mulligan — a 1984 graduate of Loyola University Chicago — will receive the award Saturday during the Loyola Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony during a game against George Mason.

“Tremendous award,” co-host David Haugh said. “Proud moment for the show. Proud moment for you family.”

“They’re giving me an award for correctly picking the Super Bowl on September 8th,” Mulligan joked.

“That is fantastic,” Laurence Holmes said, while his co-host, Dan Bernstein, continued to say “wow”. “Congratulations. You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You should be proud.”

“I’m being celebrated for being old,” Mully joked.

“That’s not what that award says,” countered Holmes. “It says something completely different.”

The Mully & Haugh host eventually admitted he was appreciative of the award bestowed upon him by his alma mater.

“It’s a good thing. I’m very moved by it. Sister Jean will be there,” Mully said. “She has a book coming out with — I think — Seth Davis.”

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Tony Romo Regressing Because He Loves Golf

“I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

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The performance of CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has been a hot-button topic in sports media circles, especially after a widely-regarded lackluster performance during the AFC Championship Game. Colin Cowherd believes he knows why Romo has regressed.

During an episode of The Colin Cowherd Podcast, the sports radio host claimed golf is the reason behind Romo’s regression.

“Romo wants to be on the Tour. He literally wants to be on the Tour,” Cowherd said. “And what’s the first thing Aaron Rodgers does in the off-season? He goes and golfs, he loves it. Both, by the way, great golfers, especially Romo. But I’ve always felt like Tony Romo is one of those guys — and we all have somebody in our social circle like this — he got the golf bug. He’s had it for 15 years.

“Tony wants to be on the PGA Tour — but he likes the paycheck from CBS.”

Cowherd also added he hasn’t hired potential employees in the past if they told him they loved golf during the interview process, saying he has a theory that as men age they “get addicted to golf”.

“They’re on PGATour.com, they’re putting in the backyard, they’re thinking about it at work, they’re scheduling a trip to Scotland and they lose sight of their other job,” Cowherd said.

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Sports Radio News

ESPN Radio Adds Lakers Games As LeBron James Nears Scoring Record

“As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.”

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The NBA’s all-time scoring record has stood for a long time. Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the current record holder, retired in 1989. LeBron James is on the verge of overtaking him though, and ESPN Radio wants to make sure it is part of history when it happens.

ESPN Radio has added two upcoming Lakers games to its schedule. The network will carry the national feeds of games on February 7 and 9. The first game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The second is against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both games will be played in Los Angeles with a 9:30 PM Eastern tip. Marc Kestecher and Vince Carter will be on the call for both games.

As of Friday, February 3, LeBron James is 63 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 career points.

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