The Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington, Texas announced Friday a proposed deal for a new $1 billion stadium with a retractable roof to be ready for 2021.
The Rangers have played at Globe Life Park in Arlington since 1994. The stadium, despite the Texas heat, is outdoors. The new proposed stadium will be built on a parking lot across from where Globe Life Park sits now.
The new stadium funding will be split evenly between the City of Arlington and the Rangers. A proposal for the funding will reach taxpayers for a vote in November.
If the ballpark funding is approved, the Rangers will extend the lease to play in Arlington until 2054.
Globe Life Park was mostly paid for with $135 million from the City of Arlington, using a half-cent sales tax model. Globe Life Park was paid off in 2001.
AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, is also funded in part by a half-cent tax in addition to a 2% hotel occupancy tax and a 5% car rental tax. The $325 million in funding provided by the City of Arlington for AT&T Stadium is expected to be paid off by 2028.
The proposed tax for a new Rangers ballpark will be an extension of the half-cent sales tax, hotel occupancy tax, and car rental tax used to fund AT&T Stadium.
The new proposed ballpark will be similar in design to Globe Life park, according to the Rangers and City of Arlington:
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.
Rangers owner Ray Davis said during a press conference that it was not practical to add a roof to Globe Life Park, and added that the option to close the roof on hot days would help attract players.
In a statement, the City of Arlington said:
According to the Texas Rangers, the options of a retractable roof or a more extensive shade canopy for Globe Life Park have both been studied by the franchise. However, to have to retrofit the ballpark with either one of those solutions would have taken multiple years to accomplish, created major structural changes and had a significant negative impact on the aesthetic of the building. After weighing those choices, the Texas Rangers considered neither to be a viable option.
The City of Arlington says the expected economic impact of a new stadium will be "$77.5 million for Arlington and $137.6 million for Tarrant County."
Sports economists, however, have long questioned the true economic impact of new stadiums on their respective taxpaying communities. Economist Andrew Zimbalist explained it as such in a 2009 interview with Freakonomics:
First, most of the spending at a stadium or arena is from residents of the metro area; as such, it is simply redirected expenditure within the local economy, e.g., from the bowling alley or restaurant to the ballpark. Second, much of the income generated by the team leaks out of the local economy, as owners and players save a substantial portion of their earnings in the world's money markets or spend their income outside the host city. Third, in the typical case, the city and/or state contributes roughly two-thirds of the financing for the facility's construction and takes on obligations for additional expenditures over time.
Preliminary renderings of the proposed new stadium are below.