Cable blackout keeping Rockets fans in the dark

February 13, 2013 4:23:44 PM PST
As the NBA brings the national spotlight to Houston, a cable blackout is still keeping many Rockets fans in the dark.

NBA All-Star weekend is ramping up with the All-Star Jam Session just about over. Fans are excited -- or at least those who have the luxury of being able to watch the Rockets games. Right now, about 60 percent of the Houston area is in a Rockets blackout.

"The sport that I've watched my entire life I can't watch anymore in Houston," NBA fan Matt Moffatt said.

Comcast Sports Network bought the programming rights to the Rockets season and began airing games October 1. CSN Houston is actually owned by the Astros. The franchise has a 46 percent stake, the Rockets with a 30 percent stake and NBC with a 22 percent stake.

Matt Hutchings, the general manager of Comcast Sports Network Houston, already has signed additional deals with the Houston Astros, the Dynamo, along with the Rockets. At this point, it seems that there is no imminent deal that could bring those games to blacked-out living rooms.

"Our goal has been from the beginning, and continues to be, to be fully distributed as soon as possible," Hutchings said.

Hutchings says it is frustrating since similar deals have been worked out with Direct TV, Dish Network and AT&T in other cities.

"We believe we have a fair market value at great value proposition. These systems believe we value at X, they value at Y," Hutchings said. "We are asking, let's come to the table, let's get a negotiation, let's get a good deal for the both of us."

But with about 60 percent of Houston blacked for the first half of the season, some Rockets fans say the team's brand is what's really suffering.

"They got a lot of people who followed the Rockets before and now they don't have access to it so maybe there might be interest elsewhere," NBA fan Robert Mata said.