Today the Houston Rockets and Houston Astros announced the formation of Space City Home Network. This is an entity that will broadcast Astros and Rockets games going forward, more or less assuming the place of ATT SportsNet Southwest. The first official broadcast will be of the Rockets first pre-season game, October 10th.
Amidst the stories around the new NBA salary cap, aprons, second aprons, and super max deals, one story has gotten less attention. This has been the collapse of the regional sports networks and broadcasters. In some markets (NBA Champions Denver, for example) it was practically impossible for locals to watch their team.
It’s difficult to know where the supposed massive contracts for the NBA will be coming from, in the face of this collapse, but I’ll admit to not really knowing the economics. It could simply be that the local teams will be fine, and not really receiving less than before, and the regional broadcasters simply overpaid for rights in the face of declining cable and satellite subscriptions.
What happens next in these markets remains to be seen. It’s hard to believe there’s no demand to watch local teams. Perhaps completely fragmenting every media delivery system and vehicle was an idea that looked better in a business plan than it does in reality? It’s easily possible that a handful of digital subscriptions can now cost more, and deliver less, than the Ole Cable Package once did. Meanwhile, the Ole Cable Package, in the face of a declining customer base costs quite a lot more. Content evidently wants to live in a series of ever smaller subscription delivery vehicles.
Houstonians can at least be grateful that ATT Southwest made it through the Rockets season, and the Astros season as well (as far as I can tell). One can’t imagine the Rockets tanking helped them any.
It looks as though the new network is essentially stepping into the shoes of ATT SportsNet Southwest, and will appear on the pay TV channels formerly occupied by ATT. I’d imagine most of the broadcast staff, technical personal, etc will remain the same as well, but we’ll see.
No word so far on if the Rockets will do some of the innovative (or “Back To The Future”) things being done in several markets where the local team has taken over the broadcast, and will transmit certain games free-to-air, as in the old days, as well as offering a specific “only watch your team” streaming option, separate from NBA League Pass.
If you live outside the Houston area, your coverage of the Rockets will largely continue to be through NBA League Pass, TNT, and ESPN (on the one occasion the Rockets get a national game on the schedule this season).
You can read more about it here.
How Much Do You Love SpaceCity Home Network?
As much as ATT SportsNet Southwest
More than Fubu.
Less than I love Jeff Bezos.
Wait, I have to pay for YouTube?
I miss KableTown.