As you all are probably getting sick of me reminding you, Tom Hicks is busy trying to figure out a way to make the Hicks Sports Group’s creditors happy so that the Rangers sale to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan can go through. So he probably didn’t need this: The Royal Bank of Scotland — to which Hicks and his fellow Liverpool FC owners owe 100 million pounds — has given him until April 6th to pay back the money. Most people thought he had until at least July. Nope. He needs the dough now.
In the meantime, some New York investors known as the Rhone Group — who are obviously no dummies — have offered Hicks exactly 100 million pounds for a controlling interest in Liverpool FC. Assuming he accepts the offer within the next 20 days, that is. According to this article, Hicks rejected offers of as much as 500 million pounds for that stake just two years ago, however, and it’s an open question what the EPL would think about a guy torpedoing franchise values so severely in one fell swoop, so it’s possible that they wouldn’t allow the bargain basement sale to the Rhone Group to even happen.
The baseball point? As Maury Brown has astutely reminded me, the real hiccup in the Rangers deal is not the creditors accepting anything new from Greenberg. It’s the creditors making their peace with Hicks (i.e. the man whose business ran up the debt). Specifically, Hicks needs to kick in more cash from his take of the sale, or else the creditors won’t sign off. Only now it seems that Hicks has to kick cash all over the place lest he lose his soccer team in a foreclosure proceeding or, at best, take a royal bath on his investment.
Can Hicks print money? If he’s going to sell his baseball team and keep his soccer team, he’d better figure out how to. Here’s some irresponsible advice for Hicks: take the 100 million in cash, kick the dough into the Rangers sale, and when the Royal Bank of Scotland comes knocking on the door for their money pretend you don’t speak British.
You can have that one for free, Tom.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.