Hicks' Loan Default Casts Shadow on Rangers, Stars

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DALLAS -- Tom Hicks owns the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars because he's been a pro at turning borrowed money into handsome profits.

Now, the Dallas businessman's borrowing has clouded his future with the Rangers and the Stars after he defaulted last month on $525 million in loans tied to the teams.

England's Liverpool football club, which he also owns, isn't caught in the same mess. But the club's indebtedness has drawn the ire of British lawmakers, who said major teams' borrowing amounted to "financial doping."

Hicks has said he defaulted on loans behind the Rangers and Stars to force lenders to renegotiate terms of the deals. He calls it a "nonevent" for coaches, players, fans and the rest of the operations. Smith College economist and sports business expert Andrew Zimbalist says he doesn't find Hicks' reasoning compelling. He says he thinks Hicks is "trying to put a relatively good face on it, but it's not a good situation for him."

Officials with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League aren't commenting on the situation, but former Rangers and Stars president Michael Cramer says he's pretty sure he knows what they're saying behind the scenes: Hicks needs to reduce debt associated with the teams.

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