The man who fell out of love with the sports industry

As recently as 2007, Tom Hicks planned to build a sports empire his children could run for the next 30 years. Now, in the process of selling his three major sports franchises, he says he is glad to be leaving an industry that opens its owners and executives to a brutal invasion of privacy.

29 August 2012 Michael Long
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On Wednesday 26th May 2010, the Dallas Morning News ran a story by journalists Gary Jacobson and Brendan Case. The two men had visited Tom  Z  # !$ Z ”  way past the piles of baseball and ice hockey 6Z 6654 ”     Z6  ”! ‹;5%# & !  ”$;    Z6 declaration: Hicks, then still the owner of the :Œ” X” ?”#+6¦X?+§   4Y”  #6?   !; ! ”   4# 5‰4!”4  •)(   65  56# – Z  ”  6@Z465!   4!•*4 (6# ) ” ! 5 6 – ) 4# 5  4  its owners and executives as much as its  Z(4  !:  4  5  ”  #6 4””4    *4 #  dismissal of the sports industry left no doubt ! Z ”  ™•)( brutal invasion of privacy,” he insisted of the  ”4 4! ! ”     •)( 4 #6  5 )! )! 5 5 family.” With all that on one side of the scales,  #   ”    •6 #–Z4!  “! “  6#    latter was as important as the former to the # #  !!4”  4 5Q5 ”!4 his children to run his three sports franchises for the next 30 years. There is no doubt Tom Hicks loved the sports industry – but very much in the past tense. Hicks is a deeply divisive character of whom #   ”    4 5 available from within the worlds of both   46# ? Z5 45(      5! !6 “  6    ”   and, to properly understand Tom Hicks the sports executive, it is necessary to understand  Z6# *4    Tom Hicks the Texan. Born and raised in $#4 4    5  :  ” + (4”   ‹#”!#4#45  X+*  %   ” 4# ” ‹Q     with his alma mater – and Texan education !‰  44   5  :#  6 ”#  :#  :#    Z(  !     5 #   5( + 4 Œ”˜'  %# ” #   5  ‹  4  •Z ”   &  ” 6#  #”  5  #   5› ”œ”5  ”    : “ 4# –“ ”# “ 4# ™ Z444 for what is now the Tom Hicks Elementary ; E : ! ” ”    5 : ) X”% 5 Between the days when Hicks studied at    5 :445!  4  #    #” were the days when he made his own name 4 #+ #” ” # )‹= Z   4! Œ6    Z¨)˜       ”46#5#!!     4 6#546# 49# ”  6# 4  ”4” ! ” satellites around it. The deal that made their 9# Z5 Z¨9# 4 a number of soft drink companies shortly  ” ” 6# ” ! $  U  Q& 6” !6#”$ U   6 ”       ”!      E ?  now better known in the sports industry as ! )X[* E  ? 4 4 !  ”4 6#5#  5•E  ?    4 :       #”  6 ” 4Z 6#5 ”#4 #44 Z ” 6  ”– 6 4 Z in an interview with the McCombs School of Business Magazine ‹•\#     4 656#5 ” 6#  444 ” 46# 4 ”  As recently as 2007, Tom Hicks planned to build a sports empire his children could run for the next 30 years. Now, in the process of selling his three major sports franchises, he says he is glad to be leaving an industry that opens its owners and executives to a brutal invasion of privacy. THE MAN WHO FELL OUT OF LOVE WITH THE SPORTS INDUSTRY “I’ve had all the publicity I want to have. I want some privacy for my family.” By Adam Fraser COVER STORY | PROFILE SportsPro Magazine | 37  5–'    ”6#  styles, there is no doubt of the success Hicks 4 ”#4! $ U   —)  !”# $ U   4 ‹ 4‹Q        5 (4McCombs School of Business Magazine, while ‘those who kept their stakes earned substantially more when %46# 5;! 9# 4$ U  Q&   ‹( Z4!    !5 ‹˜ Z¨  5 4;<‹Ž6   #  ;<      #4 ”   *4‹!5  Z #4:  4! 4    in his home state. X “ ; 46 #44“ Z5?”#¦“?§ :     ‹Q%‹Ž #”4! 4!   ! 444“ [    (! ! 4  ;<=  ! ”:# harassment lawsuit that reportedly prompted his wife to declare that she would leave him if he did not move the franchise. ‘The reasons for this modern sports move are wrapped ##+5‘ ! Z ”6!  “&  #&&!! 4    (   4Sports Illustrated at the  #” 5    moved home. The newly rebranded Dallas ;  54  ”  ! 5 \6 ‹Ž5!#49# Z5 Z4 )   : ;     4 6   4”$ #[ !4 out. Perhaps because of it, Hicks wanted in. )$6 ‹4  Z&  4“? Z  4[  ;<=   !      )!#464   44 #”” 5 ! ” Z  !  Z(     4# 5 #”5!  65  ” “ ! ‹ ;   4 : %  Division and missed out on the playoffs for the      Even as the team faltered, Hicks was busy. ' ”#‹‹!      season, he moved head coach Bob Gainey #      ” ”  Tom Hicks’ decision to leave the sports industry altogether came as a surprise even to those who knew of the financial challenges he had faced at each of the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Liverpool FC 38 | SportsProMedia.com  #  ” Z4  X  “&' ”    )! Z( 4    “?4 !#4  6   Z(    ”4  )‹Q ;  4   4&6 Z ”   $  4 ”=! 4  ” ‹        & decade history. Victory in the Central Division !#4”     4     ‹4!#46  4 ! ”!  ”  6 Z !  4! =! 4‹  4!U  4(  5 6&    ” ”#  Hicks could not have asked for a better     4# 5)   # !4 ”  ‹44 ”:Œ”     *44   ” #      #4 ”##   4   4; * [ ”' +#49# 4   ;<   Y 5 +#(# ” ” “    4 &! 4 44 to build a new stadium in partnership with % 5 *  ”;<‹Ž   #!#4465: 5  #” :  ˜     5 city secured 13 acres of the land needed for the new ballpark with a compulsory purchase order. The displaced landowners took the case # 4! ! 44;<   settlement, but the franchise refused to pay it. Hicks, then, was handed an early chance to increase his stock with the local population, 44 4 Z   Œ”   ‹!  5;<   !  ;<‹  !+#6# ” 4 5;<  !4 4  44!  Z(5 Œ” !#4    ”  “ #   !'  $      ;  4 4#”” Z!#4” Z  #!4”™ Œ”  5 X?+     ' 4; !4 * ” ”#    !”#  )   456# ‹ !  64  ” “64 * !; !   ”! ” ”! 44# ! 4 5 ”  ”!# 6 # !  466 ” “# 5##“?   # 54” )‹ Dallas taxpayers approved a plan for the city to levy a new hotel and car tax to fund its  6# !  ; 4 “+*($X  Z!465 Ross Perot Jr. Ground was swiftly broken ;<=   *”   ! : ;  544 !#44 “ # 5444 # Z4[ ” [  46# 4 ?  ˜ Z ” to SportsPro last year as the Dallas Cowboys 4 #44 “4 4   ;(4  + 5 #65! effusive in his praise of Hicks as of Cowboys ! > 5>•'( ! Z4!     5 )    !    Z)4 4! >– 4 #65 •(!56   5! ( 5 5 ”– \‹X ‹* *   ” 4 ;<‹  4 # ” #( ” “ 4  !  ”      !Z Z   Z(‹ years in the sports industry. Three months and 45 * *   #    $; !‹;5 %#  Z5(  ” #  5* ”   6  ”; 4# ”  Z 6  ”!   $ ˜4;5%#  win as the proudest moment of his career. ;#!4#45 6”   Z4 4 Z ;  [ # ¦;[§    5 4 with his ownership of two major franchises, !6”  ”! 4”#  !   4# 5— Z#4    ” his own cable sports network, with the Œ” 4;    ” ;<  4! E: ;  ;#!( #4U* in an article for the Dallas Morning News *#”# 5 ; #!   4 !˜Œ”   4 their division title and, in December 2000,  “4  (   ” *: Œ4 “#‘;<  &5   —Y  5 ” Z#44 # ”4(# * #” ! 45   ”4$4$   ( successful and renowned dealmakers, openly 4 6Œ4 “#‘4•!  4  5 66  5– # ”  46 45Œ4;:(4   trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees as the worst decision ever taken in the sport full stop. They  54 ”! 4$ Hicks. While still employed by Clear Channel, $44 “;\   Z(;#* 6U;“ # ”; *  ¦;*§ ;<    # 5   ! “44   ! 4 but payment was slow to arrive. —: ”) 4! Z 4 4:#   5 44 4!©( 6 $   acclaimed book, Never Make The First Offer (Except When You Should)—“!)#4 reach anyone on the phone, much less have 5 # 4E 5))4” ?! 5X5!!%Y\ %  %•?! 5–) 4•) 6 “ 6 (  :!! ;* 54!5  sue. His name is Tom Hicks.” —•\5[4$4–?! 5 4•  Z(   5  ”  ” 4  % %© ;<=6    4   5– “45 !Z ”   # 6: ”)Z! % %46 4 ”4 4 # Z( 5X!  ;*!  ”Z”4 5)!#”6! Z4  4 Z#5)  4  Œ4X5?! 5(4%\\  % %! 4•?(”$ 4   Z–'!” Z(  Œ46 #”# š5 COVER STORY | PROFILE “He’s always been a visionary owner that’s totally open to almost anything.” SportsPro Magazine | 39 #4 Z 4•)( ”54!  ;*”  !    4  –Œ4( 4  4 •  5#4(Z   544  “ Z5# 6 4– —•* “– Z 4” #4” ”5•$4–  4•5 4”    “4#–4”4 #6”6 ™'  ”4  Tom Hicks, CEO of a major venture capital 4 !     # 5  54 4 5;*4;Eª 6#Z!#4”!5!  ( $(#46 44!  4    Z” 65  ”#46#    ) same McCombs School of Business Magazine interview that Hicks recounted his success with Dr Pepper, Dan Blanks, a partner of  ZX# 5 Z&#44     ” Œ6  4  Z(#6 #4!   ” the cooperation of everyone in a room, and Z ”4! Z    •      ” ”   trust him, because he is trustworthy,” said +Z•;4Z 566Z     6#4(4 !5 * “   56  #4 term, but he knows how to do that – he Z!!” –   5Z!!” Œ4 “#‘ ;<   Z” 4 5 &5 &4! 4  4   :Œ”   )    Dell is far from the only man to shake his 44  5 Œ4 “#‘( 4   E6 # 55 4 #4    ”  46! ‹4Ž6 ”• ##   # –   4# ”  $ Œ4 “#‘(#   4 #”&#4   #”Œ” ( #  4   ˜   5  46  ”#Œ4 “#‘  “!¤ Z¤Z = Y ; !  #”” ”# ” #  U $       * *  % *4 !5    ! #”   Z' #6   ZX#(   #”” ”65  4 of internet and telecoms, D – the famous Dallas Stars’ goaltender Ed Belfour lifts the 1999 Stanley Cup, Hicks’ proudest moment as a team owner President Bill Clinton welcomes Hicks and the 1999 Stanley Cup-winning Dallas Stars to the White House Hicks sets out his vision to Alex Rodriguez after handing him a US$252 million contract at the Texas Rangers 40 | SportsProMedia.com $”‘ ‰  ! #    5—) Z[ ”+ Z’(Z4 4 *Z4&#    #   showed Hicks with his pockets inside out and his empty hands outstretched. )= Z#4!#4 6 ” ZX#  36 2010 10 Adam Fraser {filedir_26}SportsProMag_issue26_36-43.pdf [8079] [sportspro_october_2010] SportsPro October 2010