A hearing yesterday to determine whether the bid procedures for the auctioning of the Texas Rangers was just the beginning of what will be 3 days of discussion into the process. Yesterdayâ€™s hearing showed that the creditors of the Rangers are willing to see the preferred bidders of Major League Baseball, Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, wither and die after Aug. 12, rather than see them in play in an open auction, and that according to the Lenders, four other bidders outside of the Greenberg/Ryan group are interested in bidding for the team, although it is unknown whether all the groups will be in play should the Aug. 4 auction date stand.
It was also determined yesterday that Rangers manager, Ron Washington, would be called as a witness on Thursday. It is unknown as to what context Washington might add to the business side of the Rangers. Speculating, Washington might be asked if ownership plays any role in his decision making process as a manager, and if the current or any future turmoil in the courts, would impact the Rangers in a stretch run into the playoffs.
Today, Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg are witnesses as the hearing continues.
Ryan said that the bankruptcy of the club is causing the Rangers to lose out on future considerations for the future, such as depleted international scouting. Dainei Kaplan of the SportsBusiness Journal reports via Twitter that the club is seeing its scouts being poached and that a prolonged bankruptcy court battle could cause the team to lose All-Star Josh Hamilton.
Judge Michael Lynn, who is overseeing the bankruptcy case said to Ryan, "The bankruptcy will not interfere with operations on the field," citing MLB's $21.5 million loan to the club while it is in Chapter 11.
In the first admission of capital improvement costs that the Greenberg/Ryan group wishes to spend on the Ballpark at Arlington, Ryan said that bankruptcy proceeding could stop adding a new videoboard that would cost $5million-$12 million.
In a sign that winning is paying dividends for the bottom line of the Rangers, Ryan testifies that to date, the Rangers are running $5 million ahead in revenues for their 2010 revenue projections, and that the club expects to sell playoff tickets that would total between $11 milliion-$14 million.
Look for updates on todayâ€™s hearing as they become available.
In related news, a list of witnesses and exhibits for tomorrowâ€™s hearing has been released by the Rangers, and with it, it is clear that MLBâ€™s ownership approval process will be a large part of the discussion.
Select READ MORE to see the listing of witnesses and exhibits that are scheduled to be part of tomorrowâ€™s hearing.
The Debtors may call the following witnesses to testify at the Hearing:
1. Kevin M. Cofsky, Managing Director at Perella Weinberg Partners LP;
2. Any witness designated by any other party; and
3. Any witness necessary to rebut the testimony of a witness called or designated by any other party.
The Debtors may seek to introduce or offer into evidence any of the following:
1. Constitution of Major League Baseball;
2. Memorandum from Commissioner Selig to All Major League Clubs re Control Interest Transfers - Guidelines & Procedures;
3. Amended and Restated First Lien Credit & Guaranty Agreement ($425,000,000 Senior Secured First Lien Credit Facilities);
4. Second Lien Credit & Guaranty Agreement ($115,000,000 Senior Secured Second Lien Credit Facilities);
5. Intercreditor Agreement;
6. Amended and Restated First Lien Pledge & Security Agreement;
7. Second Lien Pledge & Security Agreement;
8. Debtorâ€™s First Request for Production of Documents from William K. Snyder;
9. Debtorâ€™s Second Request for Production of Documents from Monarch Alternative Capital LLC;
10. Debtorâ€™s Second Request for Production of Documents from GSP Finance LLC;
11. Debtorâ€™s Second Request for Production of Documents from JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.;
12. Any exhibits designated or offered by any other party; and
13. Any exhibits needed to rebut the testimony or evidence presented by any other party.
Source: Case No. 10-43400 (DEBTORâ€™S WITNESS AND EXHIBIT LIST FOR THE JULY 20, 2010 HEARING filed by Texas Rangers Baseball Partners)
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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