Update on Tom Hicks' Ownership Situation With the Texas Rangers

This comes via the great Adam J. Morris at Lone Star Ball, who you should be reading daily as it is anyway. If you really needed a reason, it's because Adam has done such a solid job of covering not only the Rangers' ownership bidding process but also why the Rangers, and now the Stars, have been hamstrung by Hicks' financial problems.

First things first, you probably heard a few weeks ago that Hicks was putting together an investment group that included Roger Staubach and Nolan Ryan in the hopes that he'd be able to maintain control of the club. That appears to have been step one in that process. Step two involved negotiating an extension with Fox Sports Net, which holds the cable rights to the Rangers until 2015.

That extra step would have allowed for an immediate cash infusion to help pay down Hicks Sports Group's debt, but would have also allowed for the possibility of lowered television revenue down the road. Which is something MLB clearly didn't like, so they put the kibosh on those talks according to Evan Grant at The Dallas Morning News.

According to Grant, MLB's intervention here all but guarantees Hicks won't be able to maintain control of the club.

Now why is this important from a Stars' angle?

For one, Hicks Sports Group owns both the Rangers and the Stars. In spite of the insistence by Hicks that all of his teams (Rangers, Stars, and Liverpool FC) are run as separate organizations with the finances of one club having no effect on the other, I can't help but think that it does.

Especially after AJM pointed out the Rangers' debt-to-value ratio skyrocketed between April 2006 and April 2007, a time period during which Hicks partnered up with George Gillett to purchase storied Liverpool F.C. Hicks has been a cheapskate when it comes to financially supporting the Rangers. The last few years, their payroll has been closer to the bottom third of major league teams even though Dallas/Fort Worth is the fifth largest media market in the United States.

The Stars had become immune to all these struggles in part because of the post-lockout salary cap. But last off season, they got burned when Hicks announced their offseason budget would be about $10 million below the cap.

That's the bad news. As for the good news?

Now I'm not a sports economist by any means. But up until last season, the Stars had spent up to the cap every year since the lockout. That's despite having debt-to-value ratios that have hovered between 70 and 80 percent after the lockout. Last year, the DTV was 81%, in part because the value of the franchise went down.

Get the Rangers and their debt off the books and that figure ought to go up, thus freeing up some much needed cash in time for the next off season.

Unless Hicks decides to do something crazy like use that freed up credit to help build a new stadium to replace Anfield.

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