SBD/7/Franchises

TOM HICKS TO BE TWO-SPORT OWNER WITH $250M DEAL FOR RANGERS

          Stars Owner Tom Hicks is buying the MLB Rangers, paying
     what a source says is $250M for the team, the ballpark lease
     and surrounding property, according to Sullivan & Schnurman
     of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM.  The Rangers have scheduled
     a news conference today to announce the deal.  A source
     familiar with the purchase said it includes the team's lease
     at The Ballpark; a 165,000-square-foot office building; a
     ballpark restaurant; more than 300 acres of nearby land; and
     the option to acquire additional acreage nearby.  A source
     close to the team said that Tom Schieffer will remain as
     club president.  Schieffer and Hicks did not return phone
     calls yesterday (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/7).  In Dallas,
     a source told Gerry Fraley that Hicks will pay more than
     $230M for the team.  An MLB source said that Hicks began the
     ownership approval process yesterday by visiting the
     league's office in N.Y. (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).
          TV TALK: Fraley adds that several MLB officials said
     Hicks "probably pursued the Rangers to provide valuable
     programming for LIN Television," since he could use the
     Stars and Rangers as the foundation for an RSN "that would
     include some games offered" on PPV (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
     1/7).  In Dallas, Barry Horn reports that with the Stars' TV
     deal with KDFI expiring next year, that team could move to
     KXTX, a Hicks-owned station (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).  
          IMPACT ON ARENA: Some analysts said buying the Rangers
     "could hurt" Hicks' bid to get Dallas voters to approve a
     new arena for the Stars and Mavericks, while others said it
     "won't sway" the January 17 election, according to Lee &
     Gillman of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.  Some analysts added
     owning the Rangers "could strengthen" Hicks' hand "by giving
     him a tie to Arlington and a reason to move the Stars there
     if Dallas' arena vote fails" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).
          PRAISE: In Dallas, columnist Randy Galloway writes,
     "Hicks brings a dynamic new dimension combined with having
     quick success in the Stars' turnaround."  Galloway adds that
     the Rangers' current ownership is selling in part because
     some of the minority investors want to cash in on their
     original investment.  Among the group is TX Gov. George W.
     Bush, "who reportedly wanted out before he announced his
     intentions to run for President" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/7).

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