A source told me late Tuesday night that this entire process of negotiating for 30 days and then tying up loose ends could last through spring training. A deal should be able to get done before Opening Day, but don't expect to see the Chuck Greenberg-Nolan Ryan group take over right after the 30-day exclusive negotiating window is closed.
How does that impact the budget? Well, it means the Rangers probably won't have any additional funds to spend (over what is currently in their budget) before the 2010 season begins. But that doesn't mean general manager Jon Daniels won't have some wiggle room when the trade deadline approaches at the end of July. That's when the ownership group could give him some money to spend.
A few more notes:
Jim Crane certainly upped the sale price. As mentioned in our story, Crane re-submitted a bid last week and that caused the Greenberg-Ryan group to improve its offer. Ryan said early Tuesday that Greenberg contacted his investment group, which Tom Hicks told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun was six or seven families. They kicked in some more money to buy the team.
The cost of the bid is thought to be more than $500 million. Forbes valued the Rangers at $405 million earlier this year. So Hicks did pretty well.
Judging by comments, this is already having a positive effect on the fan base. Can you imagine if Hicks had picked another group and Ryan decided he didn't want to be involved? How might that have impacted season tickets? Where would fan discontent have been without Ryan on board?
This sale does not need the approval of the NHL. It does need 75 percent of the Major League Baseball owners (23 of 30) to sign off. That shouldn't be an issue. Hicks Sports Group's 40 lenders must also approve the deal.