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Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 21:01 GMT
Houston seek Enron exit
The Astros are locked in a 30-year contract with Enron
The Astros are locked in a 30-year contract with Enron
The Houston Astros want to ditch Enron Field as the name of their stadium following the energy giant's bankruptcy.

Enron are into the third year of a US$100m, 30-year deal with the baseball club and continue to honour payments.

But the Astros have asked a federal bankruptcy judge in New York whether the team should continue its naming and license agreement with Enron Corporation.

"The Houston Astros have been materially and adversely affected by the negative public perception and media scrutiny resulting from Enron," said Pam Gardner, Astros' vice president of business operations.

At this point, we have no other alternative but to seek relief from the bankruptcy court

Houston Astros

"We have worked diligently with Enron to transition the stadium name, but we've been unsuccessful."

As recently as Monday, Enron bolstered its stake in the Astros by spending US$90,000 on 35 season box seats.

But the Astros want a court ruling before any further negotiations are held.

"We speculate that the only reason that Enron continues to make these expenditures is that Enron believes it can sell the baseball stadium's naming rights to someone else without the consent of the Astros," Gardner said.

"In accordance with the terms of the agreement and by law, Enron cannot do this, and it is for this reason that we are asking the court to decide now whether the naming rights agreement should continue."

Enron's next payment of US$3.65m is due to be made to the Astros on 31 August.

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