Houston Rockets and Astros Update: What to expect amid COVID-19

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta (Photo by Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images) /

After being halted for two months because of the pandemic, the Houston Rockets and Astros have recently seen a glimmer of hope for their seasons.

Houston Rockets and Astros’ faithful — many sports fans have been waiting for the moment for two months, and it seems like their wishes are coming true. In the sports world, the German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A are beginning within the next month, and those are locations where COVID-19 has had a major effect on the country.

With those leagues starting back up, it is a positive sign for the commissioners of the American sports leagues that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Here is where everything currently is in regards to Houston sports teams:

Houston Astros’ first pitch

In the MLB, there is a disagreement between the owners and the players and now there is speculation that the 2020 season will not even happen.

Last week according to The Athletic, the MLB proposed a 67-page safety protocol and enclosed was everything the league would do to make sure the players were safe from COVID-19.

The highlights of the guidelines, however, include balls being used and touched by players to be discarded immediately, team meetings to be held outdoors or video conference (most likely Zoom), no exchange of lineup cards, masks to be worn everywhere but the field, and standing 6 ft apart during the singing of the National Anthem.

The disagreement isn’t about the guidelines, it’s about the revenue split and it is very confusing at first to understand. As of right now, there is no agreement between the platers and the owners regarding the 50/50 revenue split. It has never been done or discussed before in the MLB until now.

The players have already agreed to have reduced salaries and if there is a season it will be 82 games with 14 teams in the postseason.

Jeff Passan from ESPN discusses the revenue streams:

"In baseball, there are two streams of revenue: local and national. Local revenue includes television contracts, which range from around $20 million a year (Miami Marlins) to upward of $250 million (Los Angeles Dodgers), and in-game proceeds. MLB estimates that 40% of revenue comes from tickets, concessions and other gate-related income. Nearly half of local net revenue is pooled and shared. National revenue comes from television contracts for the postseason and games of the week, league-owned media entities (MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network), licensing, merchandising and corporate sponsorships. All national revenue is shared equally."

Passan goes very in detail regarding the revenue split and sums it up better than I can, check out his article here if you are interested.

Now finally to the Astros: this would heavily hurt the City of Houston as they are most likely the most popular professional sports team in the city. Since their World Series win in 2017 (can never take that away), they have been the most pulverizing team in Houston.

Economically the bars and game day hubs throughout the Houston area – especially by Minute Maid Park, rely on the Astros to bring in fans during the summer months when basketball is over. If there is no season, they will be hurt financially and some of them already are finding themselves in trouble due to the shutdown. The Astros also bring in a lot of revenue into the city from people outside of Houston that want to see a championship-caliber team play.

With Governor Greg Abbott recently permitting that sports can start back up May 31, it is a promising sign. But for the MLB and the Astros, it all comes down to the negotiations between the players and the owners.

Here is a recent tweet from Alex Bregman that gives us hope that an agreement will be made:

Houston Rockets lift-off

Truthfully, I think we see NBA basketball back and up in running in early to mid-June. The majority of the teams around the league have begun practices and have received the go-ahead from the local government to use the facilities. According to the players, they are itching to be back on the hardwood.

Chris Paul, a former Rocket and the president of the players association, discussed the feeling and mood of the players at this moment in an interview with ESPN. Paul stated:

"A lot of hard conversations that have to be made, a lot of hard decisions, but with the team around us, I think ultimately we’ll get to where we want to. Obviously we want to play. Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad. And I think that’s a consensus for the guys around the league. We want it to be, obviously, as safe as possible. But the biggest thing is, we miss the game"

“We want to play bad.” That is the key to all of this…

Included in the article it states that Adam Silver and Chris Paul had a discussion regarding the

More from House of Houston

state of the league and there is no doubt that Paul made it clear to the commissioner that the players want to be back and they are willing to follow any guidelines the league will put in place.

There will most likely be no fans in the area for the playoffs, but that could help the local businesses that show the game a lot if they have watch parties for the playoff games.

The Houston Rockets returned to practice on May 18th, however, some players are in different states and working out. It seems like the players are currently waiting for Adam Silver and the league office to give the details regarding the restart of the NBA season. In a recent report, Adam Silver will decide on what to do within the next few weeks.

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Houston Rockets‘ fans, what do you think about sports preparing to commence?  Too early? Too soon?  Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.