Astros games to reach larger market on new network

HOUSTON -- Astros games will be available to a larger portion of the Houston television market beginning next year after a bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a Chapter 11 reorganization plan that will allow AT&T and DirecTV to purchase Comcast SportsNet Houston.

The new network, which will launch in November as Root Sports Houston, will be carried on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Comcast. It will replace Comcast SportsNet Houston, which launched two years ago and was primarily only available to Comcast subscribers, representing about 40 percent of the TV market.

The Astros released a statement regarding the decision by Judge Marvin Isgur to confirm the plan to reorganize the network under AT&T and DirecTV:

"We are very pleased with Judge Isgur's confirmation of the plan to reorganize the Network under AT&T and DirecTV. Throughout this long process, our main goal has been to provide broad coverage of Astros games for our fans throughout our region. This new Network will allow us to achieve this goal. There are still a few obstacles that we have to overcome, but today's decision is a big victory for Astros fans and the City of Houston."

Comcast SportsNet Houston claimed bankruptcy in September 2013, saying it couldn't pay the Astros their broadcast rights fees. The Astros contended Comcast SportsNet Houston improperly filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition in an attempt to prevent the Astros from terminating the media rights agreement between the Astros and Houston Regional Sports Network, the parent company of CSN Houston.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.