City of Arlington Considers Public-Private Partnership with Texas Rangers for New Ballpark

Posted at 5:10 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 18:10:00-04

The Arlington City Council will consider designating a venue project and authorizing a master agreement for a public-private partnership with the Texas Rangers at its Tuesday, May 24 evening meeting.

If approved, the Council action will allow the City of Arlington to begin the steps required to hold an election this November that asks voters to extend existing funding mechanisms that would provide the public financing for construction of a new ballpark. The Texas Rangers’ 30-year lease on the City-owned Globe Life Park in Arlington is set to end in 2024. With the new proposed master agreement, the Rangers' partnership with Arlington would extend until January 1, 2054.

The design for a new ballpark would include a retractable roof for climate control and shelter for fans during the hot summer months as well as provide a premiere baseball experience. The new park is expected to have similar design concepts featured in the construction of Globe Life Park. While designs and costs have not been finalized, the cost of the new ballpark and related infrastructure is estimated at $1 billion. The master agreement for this public-private partnership calls for a 50-50 split between the Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington.

“The Texas Rangers are a part of our fabric, a part of our DNA,” said Arlington Mayor W. Jeff Williams. “The City Council and I have heard the message loud and clear: our citizens want the Texas Rangers to stay in Arlington. No doubt any city would want the Rangers. We want to be proactive and continue this 45-year relationship, which has been so successful for us, for the team and the North Texas region. This is where they belong and this deal keeps them here for generations to come.”

“The Rangers and Arlington have enjoyed a great partnership for 45 years, and we are excited about the possibility of calling this City home for many years to come,” said Texas Rangers Co-Chairman Ray Davis. “A baseball park is a very special place and the Rangers are committed to providing the best possible experience for our fans. The construction of a new facility with a retractable roof and so many other amenities would allow us to enhance that experience in a manner that is not presently possible. This new project is a home run for the Rangers, our fans and the City.”

The master agreement under consideration by City Council caps Arlington’s proposed bond-funded contribution for the ballpark and outlines the City’s requirements and expectations for the project to move forward.

If the Council takes action to designate the venue project, the City will ask the Texas Office of the Comptroller to review the fiscal impact to the State before calling a Nov. 8 election on the proposed methods of financing.  

The Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau commissioned an independent consulting group to provide an analysis of the economic impact of the Texas Rangers franchise on Arlington. HR&A Advisors found that the annual economic impact of the Rangers in a new ballpark would be $74 million for Arlington and $133.5 million for Tarrant County. According to HR&A’s analysis, the net present value of the Rangers continued presence between 2016-2054 with a new ballpark would be $2.43 billion for Arlington and $4.35 billion for Tarrant County.

The proposed stadium would be built on what is now a team parking lot south of the existing ballpark, south of Randol Mill Road. The City and the Rangers are discussing the future of the

23-year-old Globe Life Park in Arlington, with options including office development, park space, parking and a possible extension to the Texas Live! project.

Arlington voters have previously supported stadium projects.

In 1991, voters approved a half-cent sales tax to help construct the Texas Rangers’ current home. That sales tax went away after the City’s $135 million debt on the ballpark was paid off in 2001, a decade earlier than scheduled.

Then in 2004, voters approved a half-cent sales tax, a 5 percent car rental tax and a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax (venue taxes) to help publically finance the Dallas Cowboys’ $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium. The City’s stadium debt is scheduled to be paid off in 2028 but is projected to be paid off at a faster pace.

If the Master Agreement is approved by City Council, it will allow the City of Arlington begin the steps necessary to hold an election on November 8, 2016, and establish funding mechanisms to help finance construction of the new ballpark while also paying off the AT&T Stadium debt.