How Houston Rockets Signing Dwight Howard Directly Affects the Houston Astros

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

When the Houston Rockets made their big splash in the free agent market by signing Dwight Howard, I bet no one thought it would directly affect the Houston Astros. Well, it does.

Right around 60 percent of Houston, the fourth-largest city in America, was blacked out of the Rockets’ games during the past season, and now those same people are blacked out of the Astros’ games. First off, let me rant about CSN Houston, the new network of the Astros, Rockets, and Houston Dynamo. This is a great network, believe me, I’m able to watch Astros games through MLB.tv and the presentation is amazing.

It is just completely ridiculous that only a small percentage of people can watch their favorite teams. This needs to be fixed, and soon, it will be.

With the Rockets signing Howard, the Astros could very well be available to the entire city of Houston. If that is in fact true, the Astros will begin to bring in a lot more money than they have been. The Astros own just over 46 percent of CSN Houston, while the Rockets own just over 30 percent, and NBC owns the rest.

While the TV ratings are down a considerable amount, the fact that 60 percent of Houston is blacked out certainly hurts the Astros financially. While the Astros have the lowest payroll in MLB, CSN Houston will allow the Astros to sign a big free agent, much like Howard and the Rockets, because of the money CSN will bring in.

With the Astros rebuilding, the talks for a deal have been at a stalemate. Now that the Rockets have 2013′s most prized possession in the free agent market, talks are sure to pick up.

Back on June 14, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane said he expected something to develop within 30 days. If I’m doing my math right, which I’m probably not, those 30 days are almost up and yet no word on an update of how talks are going. No matter how long this blackout goes on, the Astros and the Rockets are sure to get a great deal.

While it may not be completely obvious, this network deal will end up generating a lot of money. The Astros and Rockets both have extremely bright futures in front of them, and with the money a deal will bring in, the future continues to get brighter.

While no deal is imminent, I fully expect one to get done before the new basketball season begins, for obvious reasons.

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  • Bob Hulsey

    This could still be a tough sell unless the Astros budge on their asking price. Signing Howard helps the Rockets but CSN-H won’t be able to offer the Rockets everywhere the Astros want to be because of territorial restrictions involving the Spurs, Mavericks, Thunder and Pelicans. In those markets, the Astros have to sell themselves and, right now, they are barely trying.