Hicks Sports Group Holdings is the holding company formed by Texas billionaire Thomas Hicks. The company oversees his interests in sports teams such as the Dallas Stars hockey team and also owns a 50% stake in Center Operating Company, a joint venture with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban that runs the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Other interests include a chain of ice-skating rinks, real estate developments, and Hicks Sports Marketing. Hicks Sports Group sold the Texas Rangers to Texas Rangers Baseball Partners in 2010.
Being a sports team owner has its perks, but it also comes with a heavy cost, especially in a highly competitive sports market such as Dallas. Hicks has invested heavily on marketing and talent for his teams over the years. In 2009, however, a group of lenders later declared Hicks Sports Group in default on $525 million in loans when it missed a debt payment.
Hicks agreed early in 2010 to sell control of the Rangers baseball team in a deal that was first priced at $575 million. After running into trouble with Hicks' lenders, Texas Rangers Baseball Partners (the Rangers ownership group) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to proceed with the sale without lender approval while guaranteeing that creditors were paid in full. Finally, in the summer of 2010, a bankruptcy court approved the sale of the Rangers to a group led by sports lawyer Chuck Greenberg and current team president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. The total purchase price is valued at $593 million, which includes $385 million in cash. The baseball franchise is responsible for about $75 million of Hicks' debts.
Royal Bank of Scotland sold Liverpool Football Club in 2010 to New England Sports Ventures (the Boston Red Sox ownership group led by businessman John Hendy) for $476 million. Hicks and and partner George Gillett put Liverpool up for sale through RBS in April 2010 under the weight of the debt related to the purchase of the team. The sale to Henry's group was completed despite the objections of Hicks and Gillett because the pair did not agree with the valuation of the English Premier League team they acquired for $340 million in 2007.
Hicks made his fortune as an investment banker and founder of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst (now HM Capital Partners). He purchased the Stars in 1995 for $84 million and joined the ranks of baseball team owners in 1998 when he acquired the Rangers for $250 million from a group that included then-future President George W. Bush.