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Crane 'optimistic' about long-term TV deal

Crane 'optimistic' about long-term TV deal

Crane 'optimistic' about long-term TV deal

HOUSTON -- Astros owner Jim Crane is "optimistic" that a deal between Time Warner and CSN Houston will get done, making Astros broadcasts available on more televisions in the Houston area by season's end.

Crane addressed the television deal Friday during an interview on Houston's ESPN Radio 97.5. 

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Currently, approximately 40 percent of the Houston television market can see Astros games.

"We're very focused on [getting a deal done]," Crane said. "We work on it every day and something, I think, will develop here within 30 days."

Crane said he wants to make sure the new deal gives the Astros a legitimate ability to contend with its American League West rivals.

"If we don't work a deal here that's good for the team long term, it won't make us as viable as the Rangers or Seattle with the deals that have been done there on the TV networks," Crane said. "We just want a deal that's fair to the team, that gives us a similar amount of resources to be able to run a payroll that's in that vicinity when we can spend that money effectively."

Crane emphasized the team refrained from spending more money on payroll this year as part of a rebuilding effort, saying increasing payroll in 2013 could have "gotten [the Astros] 10 or 12 more wins" but wouldn't help future goals.

"We were looking at the long term, how to rebuild this club properly from the bottom. Spending that money this year wouldn't have been done in an effective way."

Crane said that payroll will likely increase "significantly" next year, but he didn't specify by approximately how much or whether the additional money will be spent on existing players or in free agency.

Astros president Reid Ryan said working out a new TV deal was his top priority when he was hired last month, and Crane's remarks fit with the negotiating philosophy Ryan touted.

"I think there's a real desire from Jim to get it right," Ryan said last month. "He knows if he doesn't get it right, it can affect the club for a very, very long period of time. There's a perception nationally that Houston is a small market and people want to treat us as a small market, but this is the fourth-largest city in America and it's kind of a slap in the face to call Houston a small market."

Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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