Crane discusses importance of TV deal

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros owner Jim Crane, who arrived in town on Thursday to catch the Astros for a few days, provided an update on the team's negotiations to have regional sports network CSN Houston available in more markets in the Houston area.

The regional sports network, which is jointly owned by the Astros, the Houston Rockets and NBC, launched in October and isn't available yet on DirecTV, Dish Network and AT&T U-verse. Crane said he's been involved in recent negotiations and still expects to get a deal done.

"I think something is going to happen," he said. "We're concerned about our fans. We want our fans to watch the game and we want to get this deal done. If there's a little pain in the short term, we've got to be willing to do that because we can't sacrifice the future. That's the whole theme on the ballteam."

Crane said the pressure point will be when the regular season starts March 31, but he stressed the deal must be a good one for the Astros considering it's for the long term.

"What fans need to understand is, we really need to cut a good deal here," he said. "This is a long-term deal, and it will really affect the ability to finance the team and the payroll. We have to have a deal that's market with the Rangers and Angels and we should be able to get that. We can't really cut a bad deal that's a long-term deal because it will affect us in the long term, and we don't want to do that. We want to have our payroll where the Rangers' is so we can compete with everybody. That's the key."

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.