Tom Hicks, owner and chairman of the board of the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers and new owner of the Liverpool FC soccer club, discusses what’s right and what’s wrong with his sports franchises. And until lately, there’s been a lot wrong with the Rangers, who bring up the rear in the AL West. Hicks expresses his frustration with the Rangers, and explains how he plans to turn the team into a winning franchise like he did with the Stars. He admits his intention when purchasing the Stars in 1995 was purely financial, hoping to turn around a lousy franchise, increase its value and sell it for profit.
Hicks also discusses his relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, how an early investment in Cuban’s internet venture led to a multimillion dollar return and and how he’s helped his alma mater, the University of
Texas, succeed as an athletic powerhouse.
Here are a few excerpts from the episode:
On the Rangers: “I’m so disappointed and I’m so surprised because spring training was a love fest. We really thought we were going to get a fast start out of the gate and play well. I’m not sure I understand what’s happened yet. … It’s like we caught the flu and we can’t get rid of it, and now we just don’t play good baseball.”
On purchasing the Rangers and Stars: “When the previous (Rangers ownership) group built the ballpark, they took what had been a lousy franchise and all of a sudden made it a great franchise worth a lot more money, which I later paid for. That was really my attraction to the Stars. I knew they were a lousy franchise. They had very weak backing at the time and they were playing in a crummy arena.
Reunion had great memories, but it was obsolete, but in a great market. So I figured I could kind of help change all of that and put them in a great arena, and it would be worth a lot more money, and I’d sell it and make money. I’m a businessman, but what I didn’t count on is I fell in love with hockey. I don’t want to sell. I fell in love with sports. I now own three teams and have year-round sports.”
On his relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:“I know Jerry a lot better than Mark. We’re very good friends. Jerry’s a great businessman. He loves the Cowboys with all of his heart, and he’s much more involved with the day-to-day operations of the Cowboys than I would ever be with any of my teams. … Mark was very successful during the dotcom surge. I was fortunate enough to be one of his investors. I invested a couple of million bucks and made 20 times my money. It was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. … We’ve got totally different backgrounds, but we get along just fine. The challenge is always making sure the people who work for us get along. We’ve gotten to where we do that pretty well.”
On purchasing Liverpool FC: “Liverpool is a great economic model. People are worried that I might take money away from the Rangers to go to
Liverpool. It’s just the reverse.
Liverpool is going to pull off lots of extra money that if I choose I can use for the Rangers or the Stars.”
On dealing with criticism: “In the newspaper, I’m a brilliant hockey owner and a really stupid baseball owner. It’s all about winning. If the team isn’t winning, everyone is fair game. I’ve had my share of that. The way you get to used to it is you just try to ignore it. I don’t listen to talk radio, but I do read the paper.”