Putting an end to a protracted coverage stalemate for a high-profile regional sports network, the outlet previously known as CSN Houston relaunched Monday under the control of AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) as Root Sports Southwest.
With 96 of the 141 employees who operated the RSN when it was under Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) control laid off, programming is largely limited to Houston Rockets game coverage, pre and post included, as well as a handful of studio-produced shows and some syndicated fare.
However, with the network now featured on the systems of DirecTV and AT&T, in addition to just Comcast, carriage has jumped from approximately 40 percent of the 2.2 million Houston-area TV homes to around 64 percent.
Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Suddenlink Communications still have not signed on to carry the RSN. Asked by the Houston Chronicle last week about carrying the channel, a Dish spokesperson noted, "We're interested in high-quality content at an appropriate value. If that balance can be struck, we're willing to consider it."
CSN Houston was a joint venture launched in 2012 by Comcast, the Houston Rockets and Houston Astros. The channel wound up in bankruptcy court when no carriage deals beyond Comcast could be struck.
The channel was sold to AT&T and DirecTV for $1,000 under a restructuring plan last month.
- read this Houston Chronicle story
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