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TEXAS TWO-STEP: STARS EXEC NAMED TO RANGERS POST, TOO
Published May 10, 1999
Stars President Jim Lites was named MLB Rangers President and is now just one of five people to lead two sports franchises, according to Gerry Fraley of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Lites, who replaces Tom Schieffer, "is expected to bring about significant changes" in the Rangers' marketing campaigns to ticket buyers and advertisers. Rangers Owner Tom Hicks: "What we didn't want anybody to worry about was that I was going to unleash a bunch of business suits into the sports business. We don't do that. We get the best possible people to do the job and let those people do their job. Sports people will be in charge of sports." Fraley reported that Lites' sports background, with 17 years in hockey with the Stars and the Red Wings, "figured" in Hicks' decision. Hicks, however, will "represent" the Rangers at MLB and AL meetings, with Southwest Sports Group Exec VP/Finance & Operations John McMichael, who was recently promoted from Rangers Exec VP/Business Operations (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/8). NEW MODEL: In Dallas, Richard Alm wrote that the Stars and Rangers are "becoming one, forging the next generation of sports enterprise." Southwest Sports Group CEO Michael Cramer: "All the ticket sales will be run through one person. All sales of corporate sponsorships will be run through one person. All marketing will funnel through one person." Stars Marketing Dir Jeff Cogen, who has led the Stars' string of 40 straight sellouts, is taking over ticket sales for both teams (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/8). THE LITES STUFF? In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw wrote that with the Lites announcement, the "mom-and-pop organization ... is no more." Lites, on making changes to the Rangers' operations: "I think there are opportunities here that have not been maximized. You might see different things in the way the game looks and sounds. I anticipate those things changing a bit" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/8). CAPITAL GAIN: In N.Y., Kevin Sack detailed former Rangers Owner George W. Bush's stewardship of the team. The TX Gov. saw his $606,000 investment turn into a $14.9M payday when his group sold to Hicks in '98. Sack: "There's no denying the Rangers' success during Mr. Bush's tenure, both on the field and in the stands" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/8).