Posted by: mdegeorge | August 16, 2010

No money, no problems: Rangers and Coyotes successful in trying financial times

In Thomas Freidman’s book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, the New York Times columnist hails the ability of America’s bankruptcy protection laws to provide a safety net for those risking fortunes on novel financial ventures as part of the nation’s dominance of the globalization system.

Freidman failed to mention any connection between bankruptcy and sports franchises, but apparently shaky finances aren’t the detriment we intuit them to be. Two of the biggest Cinderella stories in professional sports this season, the Phoenix Coyotes and Texas Rangers, have come from clubs in the throes of serious questioning of their financial futures.

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The Rangers, seemingly a perennial pretender in the AL West, looked to be playing a familiar game this season by jumping out to a division lead early in the season. And while many pundits expected them to be slowly reeled in by the veteran Angels, they’ve run away and hid atop the division, boasting an eight-and-a-half game lead at the end of play today.

All this transpired while Major League Baseball aggressively sought a new owner for the team with former owner Tom Hicks’ needing to liquidate assets to salvage his other ventures, even entering them into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to expedite the sale. The Rangers do have some resolution, with their sale to a group that includes Nolan Ryan finally approved my MLB.

The Rangers success is surprising result since Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks’ other failing financial venture, English Premier League Club Liverpool, is coming off its worst season in over a decade.The Coyotes meanwhile have been circling the drain, or at least so it seems, for several years. Hockey has never quite caught on the way many expected it would in the desert, and relocation still is a very real possibility as the NHL attempts to wrangle a new owner at ever-extending deadlines.

The latest deadline of Aug. 6 has come and gone with increased uncertainty rather than clarity. The negotiations between prospective owner Ice Edge Holdings and the city of Glendale about the Coyotes’ home are ongoing, as are discussions between the city and several other ownership groups.

There success comes as a bit of a shock, especially to someone who endured years of Pittsburgh Penguins’ lottery picks while the team and the city were embroiled in battles over a long overdue arena.

So far, the Rangers don’t seem to be showing any ill effects of their sudden financial stability. But if worse comes to worse, I suppose Hicks can always try and run them back into the ground.


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