UPDATE: Hicks has deal in place to sell Rangers

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UDPATE: The group headed by Greenberg, under the moniker “Rangers Baseball Express,” has a deal in place to purchase the Rangers from Hicks. An official sale price was not announced, but a source told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that the price tag was under $570 million, which covers the team, the lease at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and approximately 153 acres of real estate around the park. Greenberg acknowledged the purchase in a statement:

“Nolan and I greatly appreciate Tom Hicks’ willingness to work beyond
the deadline to complete the deal and his support for passing the torch
from the Hicks family to our group. His actions speak eloquently to his commitment to serve the best
interests of Rangers fans and the community.

The agreement won’t likely go into effect until March or Opening Day.

SATURDAY 1:41 pm: Tom Hicks, current owner of the Texas Rangers, is just about ready to hand the organization over to a new ownership group.  Word comes from MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that a deal could be reached as soon as this afternoon.

Hicks also owns the Dallas Stars and has a fifty percent stake in the English Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, but he’s fallen on hard times recently due to the ongoing economic crisis in this country.

The new ownership group is headed by Chuck Greenberg, a sports attorney from Pittsburgh, and current club president Nolan Ryan.  The Rangers, under Hicks, won back-to-back American League West division championships in 1998 and 1999 and posted an 87-75 record last season.  With guys like Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Neftali Feliz and Vladimir Guerrero in tow, they’re ready to compete for another division crown this year.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.