On Friday, the Texas Rangers and City of Arlington announced that they’re agreed to a financing plan for a new $1 billion ball park with a retractable roof. The city would be responsible for half of the stadium’s initial cost — pending voter approval — while the Rangers will cover any cost over runs.
The new stadium announcement occurred because Arlington is trying to be proactive and keep the Rangers in town after their current lease is up in 2024. According to Rangers’ owner Rey Davis, the city approached him about what it could be done to keep the franchise in Arlington past their lease; including the option of building a new stadium.
But Davis said the city came to him and asked: “What would it take to get you to stay here?”
He said the possibility of moving into a new retractable-roof stadium a few years early was “very compelling.” No other city could provide the Rangers with that opportunity.
Arlington likely approached the Rangers about getting them a new stadium to keep Dallas out of the picture — Dallas tried to lure the Rangers with a new stadium in 1991, and failed. It’s likely that the soon to be constructed entertainment district, called Texas Live, was a major motivating factor for the city to try to keep the Rangers in town long-term; if the team left for Dallas — or another city — then that would be 81 less event days in the area. Which in turn could impact the number of business that lease out space in Texas Live, making it a potential financial risk for the city.
To finance the construction of the new building, the city would use the already existing combination of tax increases (half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel tax, and 5 percent car rental tax) used to finance the construction of next door AT&T Stadium. The city council will vote on the financing package on Tuesday, May 24th and then it will go to the voters on the Nov. 8th ballot.
It’s unlikely that Arlington’s voters will turn down the financing package; as they’ve previously approved the financing for AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park by wide margins in the past. Especially since the new stadium won’t involve the creation of new taxes, and it will already use an existing tax increase to help pay for the stadium — similar to what Seattle did after with Century Link Field after Safeco Field was built.
During the press conference announcing the new stadium, it was announced that the club expected the park to open its doors no later than 2021. The new ball park would be built in the parking lot just across Randol Mill Road from Globe Life Park, the Rangers current home.
Globe Life Park opened in 1994 to rave reviews from the public and the press. But it very quickly became apparent that the lack of a retractable roof was a major liability for the Rangers new home. As the temperatures routinely hit the century mark during the dog days of summer; which makes Globe Life Park an extremely unfriendly ballpark during day games. The temperatures were so bad in the visiting bullpen that the Rangers readjusted the pen so it was under the shade of the right field upper deck in 2012.
After having spent over 40 years sweltering in the heat, the Rangers and their fans will get to experience climate controlled baseball at its finest.