Nolan Ryan says the pending change of ownership in the Texas Rangers should relieve some of the franchise's financial stress, returning the focus to what happens on the field.
Ryan would be in line for a third season as team president as part of an investment group headed by Pittsburgh sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg. On Tuesday, current owner Tom Hicks chose Greenberg's group for an exclusive monthlong negotiating period.
Ryan said Wednesday there are a dozen investors in Greenberg's group. Hicks' family would have a minority stake.
Greenberg's group and Hicks will work over the next 30 days to complete the transaction. It then will be forwarded to the baseball commissioner's office and require approval by 75 percent or more of all owners.
The Associated Press reports the sale is expected to be for more than $500 million.
Greenberg and Hicks declined to discuss specifics.
Hicks Sports Group this year defaulted on $525 million in loans tied to the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, which Hicks has owned since 1996.
Full Press Release from Hicks Sports Group:
Thomas O. Hicks said today that he will ask Major League Baseball to approve his decision to grant exclusive rights to negotiate the sale of the Texas Rangers to an investment group that includes legendary pitcher and current Rangers president Nolan Ryan and renowned Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg. The announcement means the principals of Hicks Sports Group, the family company that owns the major league baseball franchise, and the Greenberg-Ryan consortium of investors will now work over the next thirty days to complete the transaction. During this period of time, a final purchase agreement will be negotiated and MLB ownership approval will be sought and HSG must also get approval from its lenders.
“Our family has chosen to negotiate with the group we believe will be best to protect and ensure the long-term positive future of this franchise,” said Hicks. “We understand that this is more than a transaction. You never really own a baseball team; you just have the right to be the trustee of a public institution. Nolan Ryan is the personification of the word trust; he and Chuck worked diligently and relentlessly to get to this point.”
Greenberg’s group primarily consists of Dallas-Fort Worth investors. He said the Hicks family will retain a significant investment in the club and that Ryan will remain President of the Club.
“Tom and his family have owned the team for 11 years,” said Ryan. They are passionate about the game and the team. We will benefit from continuing to have Tom as a partner and have access to his business acumen and experience.”
Both Greenberg and Hicks declined to discuss the specifics of the final working ownership proposal.
“There’s a lot of work to do,” said Greenberg. “The deal isn’t done yet, but I am confident we can complete this soon and have the Rangers well-positioned for the future. We are committed to stability, continuing to work the baseball plan that’s in place, and doing whatever is necessary to build upon the team’s tradition and bring home a World Series championship.”
Hicks acknowledged that he understands the last year has been difficult for Rangers fans.
“I am most appreciative of the fans’ patience and support for the last year,” said Hicks. “I know it’s been difficult, but this new generation of ownership is 100 percent resolved to excellence and a superior fan experience for the long term.”