And so it appears– Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers ownership group and the city of Arlington, TX will partner with local residents in building a new air-conditioned dome baseball park. This will happen, of course, if they say “yes” on a stadium referendum in November estimated to cost more than a half billion dollars’ worth of the construction. Arlington has been down this road before. In 1990, the Rangers ownership group which included George W. Bush went to Arlington Mayor Richard Greene and said a new stadium was needed or the team would move, possibly to St. Petersburg, Florida. Arlington residents eventually passed a referendum that raised the local sales tax by 0.5 percent to fund up to 70 percent of the cost of the stadium. The stadium opened in 1994 at which time the owners also gained control of 270 acres of land surrounding the stadium. The city of Arlington used eminent domain to obtain 13 acres needed for the stadium.
The land owners received $817,220 for the parcel, and sued because they felt the land was worth far more. They won the case and the city of Arlington was on the hook for an additional four million dollars. The Rangers lease expires in 2023, but it appears that the stadium will be gone by then. One reason for the demise is that the stadium has no roof and the Texas heat is keeping folks away. Arlington may have money for this new venture because the city thinks the municipal investment in the Dallas Cowboys facility could be paid off through local taxes by 2021. This would make borrowing easier for the Rangers’ new ballpark since Arlington could have a decent credit rating. The Rangers’ ballpark is the 11th oldest facility in Major League Baseball at the ripe old age of twenty-two, which is an old age in sports venues.
By Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.