Posts Tagged ‘Astros Almost Blacked Out on Out-of-Town Cable’

Astros Almost Blacked Out on Out-of-Town Cable

May 17, 2017

What’s wrong with this picture? – In most State of Texas cable TV homes, you almost have as much chance of seeing the Pecan Park Eagles as you do the Houston Astros.

Recent column comments by Greg Lucas, Wayne Roberts of Austin, and Tom Hunter of Denver underscore an unresolved media problem that only hurts all the more as the 2017 Astros continue to reveal themselves as probably the best team in baseball. Their comments certainly underscore the frustration I’ve heard from my younger brother, John McCurdy, of Beeville, Texas, 50 miles north of Corpus Christi. Down there, like most other places outside of Houston, cable subscribers cannot get regular daily coverage of Astros games. You have to get the less available Direct TV satellite coverage to get our standard ROOTS coverage of the Astros or simply settle for the Rangers-biased cable deal they offer in the hinterlands. That means you get to watch the Astros only when they appear on the Rangers cable TV schedule.

How stupid is that? More importantly, look at the lost opportunity here. While the Astros continue to build what well may turn out to be the greatest club in their history, the opportunity is lost for building and attracting fans from areas that used to love Houston. – The State of Texas doesn’t get to watch. They get to watch the hapless, bungling Texas Rangers.

Here’s the comment by Greg Lucas on the “An Artful Homage to Larry Dierker” piece on May 12, 2017:

“Bill, this is a great piece, but the most striking and significant point is how the Astros STILL don’t get the coverage over TV in the regions they used to be common (in the Fox Sports days.) That has allowed the Rangers to dominate access for baseball fans in the region. The ill-fated Comcast “experiment” continues to haunt the Astros. Out of sight, out of mind is an old phrase that obviously continues to still plague the Astros.”

Here’s the comment by Wayne Roberts on the “Sunday Night’s Jeter Game was ‘2’ Much” article today, March 15, 2017:

“…. If you really want to barf out, try getting Astros coverage in Austin. The media bias to all things Dallas which has existed for decades is at an all time high. Local TV outlets report the Rangers scores but not the Astros. The Austin American Statesboy only recently added summaries of the Astros since they took their commanding lead in the AL West. We get Astros box scores for about 1 in 5 games. No real televised games (only Root which has a small area of the Central Texas market). Today it was about how hot the Strangers are and ignored the fact that they’ve done nothing to catch the Astros in games behind. And don’t even ask about the Cowboys vs the Texans’ coverage. All this when there are tens of thousands more ex-Houstonians in Central Texas than ex-Metroplexers.”

Here’s the comment by Tom Hunter on the “Sunday Night’s Jeter Game was ‘2’ Much” article today, March 15, 2017:

“When we moved to Austin (from Pearland) in 1963, there was only one television station (excluding the UT channel), KTBC, which was owned by Lady Bird. KTBC determined what you watched from the three major networks at any given hour. You had no choice. It was quite a shock from living in Pearland, where you could select from CBS, NBC, ABC, and KUHT in Houston. I missed watching the World Series for the first time that year.”

Bottom Line: What, if anything,  can the Astros do to correct this sorry situation? Whether the club is the target of this harm to their live media game coverage – or whether they simply are the “friendly fire” victims of some hard playing media politics among major corporate entities in the lucrative broadcasting arena, something needs to be done. Old fans and potential Astros fans away from Houston are mostly missing the biggest potential party in our Houston club’s history. Right now, for example, the Astros lead the Marlins, 11-2, in the bottom of the 8th. Dallas Keuchel is on the brink of going 7-0 on the season. And the Astros have a good clean shot at going 28-12 on the season as we now play into the 9th.

Isn’t it time that this missing coverage mess did something other than arouse a few disgruntled groans of “that’s cable TV politics for you”?

And is there anything we Astros fans/home viewers can do to help put the squeeze on those corporate forces who want to keep things just as they are?


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle