Texas Rangers Ballpark Referendum
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are Arlington residents voting on a new Texas Rangers ballpark on November 8?
The current agreement with the Texas Rangers is nearing its completion, and the team has indicated a desire to have a new ballpark with a retractable roof and air conditioning. With North Texas cities like Dallas already courting Ranger ownership urging them to relocate to their community, many local residents reached out to the Arlington Mayor and City Council concerned about losing the Rangers. Our city leaders then worked proactively for many months to negotiate a deal that would keep our hometown Rangers in Arlington with voter approval.
How concerned were city leaders about Dallas trying to lure the Rangers to their downtown?
Multiple media reports indicate Dallas leaders had been actively pursuing the Rangers with promises of a downtown stadium. Losing the Rangers to Dallas or another city would be a devastating blow to our economy, taking millions of dollars in spending and valuable jobs at all pay levels, as well as hurting our community’s image. That’s why our city leaders smartly and proactively approached our hometown team about extending our successful relationship. By getting ahead of other cities looking to lure the Rangers, we avoided a costly and lengthy bidding war.
What are the terms of the deal between the team and the City of Arlington?
After months of negotiations, here are a few of the deal points on a 50/50 public-private partnership that will keep the Rangers in our city through 2053:
There are no new taxes. When the Cowboys stadium is paid off in just a few years (way ahead of schedule) bonds for a new ballpark can be issued and serviced by the same funding options approved by voters for the football stadium. Again, there are no new taxes. We are simply voting to extend existing funding options already in use including a half a penny sales tax, rental car and hotel taxes, and if necessary, user fees on ballpark tickets and parking.
Better than a 50/50 deal. While the public-private partnership is a 50/50 agreement between the team and the city with the Rangers required to invest a minimum of $500 million, the portion that Arlington residents will pay is closer to 25%-30% of the project since more than one half of our sales tax revenue is paid for by visitors and tourists from outside our city. It’s important to note that a recent WFAA Ch. 8 report that misrepresented the funding ratio has been proven false by an investigative article published by The Dallas Morning News.
Any cost over-runs will be paid by the team. Our portion of the stadium funding is capped. City leaders wisely insisted that any and all cost over-runs be paid for by the Rangers. This protects our taxpayers from any unforeseen increases in construction costs.
Rangers pay almost $70 million in rent to city. The Rangers will pay the city $2 million in rent each and every year. Over the lifetime of this partnership, that amounts to almost $70 million that we can use to more quickly pay down Arlington’s part of the stadium funding.
What are user fees on ballpark tickets and parking?
These where approved by Arlington voters to help fund the Dallas Cowboys stadium and have been offered as another funding option for the Rangers ballpark, though no final decision has been made if these will be utilized. Since a large majority of the people attending Rangers games are from other cities, it’s another funding option that allows visitors and tourists to help pay for the ballpark.
What will happen to Globe Life Park in Arlington once the new ballpark opens?
Let’s be clear on this very important point – the Texas Rangers do not have plans to tear down the existing ballpark. The team is currently reviewing options to repurpose the facility, plans that could include office development, park space, parking and a possible extension to the new Texas Live! project. They would like to preserve many of the
signature elements of Globe Life Park such as portions of the façade, the Center Field Office Building and other historic features.
What kind of economic impact can we expect from a new Texas Rangers ballpark?
For more than four decades the Rangers have been a high-revving economic engine of growth for our city, creating thousands of jobs and new tax revenue to pay for better roads, parks, and public safety. 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 with a new ballpark is estimated to be $77.5 million for Arlington and $137.6 million for Tarrant County. This data does not include the incredible economic impact of the stadium construction, which is expected to bring many jobs to Arlington.
How many tourists and visitors do the Rangers attract to Arlington each year?
Each year the team attracts more than two million visitors from outside of our city. The new ballpark will continue attracting these tourists who will help us maintain a strong economy as they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores.
Why the need for a retractable roof ballpark with air conditioning?
The new air-conditioned, retractable roof ballpark will provide a better fan experience during the brutal summer heat, especially for our kids and elderly. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to attract fans when it is 100 degrees at first pitch. The heat was so unbearable in mid-August that one of the scoreboards overheated and malfunctioned. The heat is a primary reason that the Rangers see an attendance dip in the hot days of late summer.
What are the benefits of a ballpark that can be open or closed?
A new ballpark featuring a retractable roof and climate control would provide the ability to host baseball games, sporting events, concerts, conventions and other mega events 365 days a year, bringing even more tourist and visitor spending to our city. For example, concerts that need a venue smaller than Cowboys stadium but larger than the American Airlines Center in Dallas could be held in the new ballpark. And, by having the new ballpark and Cowboys stadium so close to each other, we can also attract larger events that require two large, enclosed facilities.
Could a retractable roof be added to the current Globe Life Park?
No. It would require a substantial renovation to the ballpark with a significant negative impact on the aesthetic of the building – this would leave it looking very different than it does today. Plus, the team would not be able to play in the stadium during the 2-3 year construction time period. The team did look at the option of adding a shade structure but it only reduced the game time temperature about 4 degrees, and the hottest parts of the outfield bleachers received no shade while the players would still be subjected to the brutal summer heat. The shade structure itself would not have been a pleasant looking addition to the existing ballpark nor would it have solved the issue of rain. And, a shade structure would not have allowed the ballpark to be used year round for other events like concerts and conventions.
What will the new ballpark look like?
The new park is expected to have asymmetrical field dimensions, have natural grass, and be authentically Texas with many of the same design concepts that were featured in the construction of Globe Life Park. It will also include state-of-the–art amenities to provide a premiere experience for all fans in terms of comfort, technology, and entertainment.
Who will maintain the day-to-day operations, upkeep and maintenance of the ballpark?
The Texas Rangers will be responsible for the management of and all costs associated with the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the new ballpark.
Who will pay for the air conditioning in the new ballpark?
All costs associated with providing air conditioning for the new ballpark will be paid for by the Texas Rangers. Not one dime of city funds will be used for this operating expense.
Would public funding pay for anything other than the new ballpark?
No. Arlington’s investment will go toward the new ballpark and related infrastructure only.
Will property taxes be impacted by the new ballpark?
Property taxes will not be used for the new ballpark. In fact, the city is now expected to lower the property tax rate in part because of the additional sales tax revenue brought to Arlington by our existing hometown sports franchises.
A majority of the city’s portion of the funding comes from an existing half a penny sales tax. How much of the City’s sales tax revenue is generated by residents and visitors?
According to a recent analysis of its cardholder data conducted by VISA, 52% of Arlington sales tax revenue is generated by people from outside our city. With our sports and tourism-based economy, it is no surprise that more than one half of our sales taxes are paid for by visitors and tourists.
What is the Texas Live! project and when will construction begin?
This fall, right next to the proposed ballpark site, construction will begin on Texas Live!, a multimillion-dollar private investment in our city consisting of an upscale hotel, music venue, retail, dining and family entertainment. A premier development like Texas Live! has been the vision and desire of our citizens for decades. Keeping the Rangers in Arlington will greatly add to the success of this mega mixed-use development, providing fans, visitors and tourists more game day entertainment and lodging options. It’s also important to note that Texas Live! will be developed and operated by the Cordish Companies, who are responsible for the successful entertainment and hotel developments adjacent to the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals ballparks.
Will Arlington’s name be placed on the new ballpark?
The master agreement between the City of Arlington and the Texas Rangers calls for Arlington to be prominently featured inside and outside the new ballpark. It also calls for the team to use its best efforts in radio, TV, media guides, the Internet and other marketing materials to highlight our city.
Will homes be torn down or will imminent domain be used to make room for the new ballpark?
No. The ballpark would be built on land that currently is home to a team parking lot.
When will construction of the new ballpark begin?
With the Texas Rangers providing the initial funding as early as 2017, construction on the new ballpark could begin that year. The team is expected to play their first game in the new ballpark no later than 2021.
When approved by the voters, where will the new Rangers ballpark be located?
Plans call for the new ballpark to remain in the Arlington Entertainment District, just south of the current ballpark.
When do Arlington residents get to vote on the Rangers ballpark referendum?
Election day is the same day as the President election – November 8. Early voting begins October 24.
Political advertising paid for by Vote Yes! Keep The Rangers, P.O. Box 1283, Arlington, Texas 76004.