A couple of weeks an erroneous report surfaced stating that Bill Gallacher had agreed in principle to purchase the Dallas Stars for $225 million. Immediately the report was refuted, specifically since nearly every league source stated that the sale price was way too low.
Today, a report by Mike Ozanian at Forbes.com says that the team is "very close" to being sold for somewhere between $275 and $300 million.
The sale of the Stars tells me two things: creditors of Hicks Sports Group will recoup some $200 million on top of what they will receive from the sale of the Texas Rangers and that despite the troubles of the Phoenix Coyotes, Atlanta Thrashers and Nashville Predators hockey can sell in the right southern market.
That last part is the most important and something we've all known for a very, very long time: the Dallas Stars are a profitable team, they are valuable and hockey can work in a southern market if handled correctly.
Tom Hicks famously came out earlier this year and damned hockey in Texas, saying that any new owner will have to have a low payroll or he'll be losing money. He condemned the current cap structure in hockey and said it would have to change if the NHL ever hoped to make money in the south. Every Stars fan retorted that if the team is just willing to show the ability to do ANYTHING in order to improve then perhaps the revenue for team would increase; instead we've seen a team locked in stasis for two seasons with every-decreasing internal caps.
Now, that's not to say the business model for the Stars over the past ten years is perfect. A couple of years of trying to become the New York Yankees of the NHL never paid off and the Stars were slow to adjust to a new NHL in the post-lockout era. Now the team is attempting to get back to building through the draft with a younger team while at the same trying to win now with the team they have. It's a tough game to play, especially with no money to spend.
All in all, the reported sale price of the team is very good news indeed. It shows us that the Stars are indeed a valuable franchise and if a new owner is willing to spend $300 million on a hockey team in Dallas, I'm willing to bet he's willing to spend a little money to improve the team and get the Stars back where they belong: on top of the Pacific division.