TEXAS TWO-STEP: STARS EXEC NAMED TO RANGERS POST, TOO
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).