Fort Worth voters approve spending $225m on a new arena for rodeo and, um, that’s about it

Forget about control of the U.S. Senate, and whether the crazy guy who tried to rig the unemployment claims process won in Maine: I know what you want to know this morning. You can’t wait to hear whether Fort Worth, Texas voted to pay half the cost of a $450 million, 14,000-seat arena for no teams in particular.

And the answer is: Do you even have to ask?

• An admission tax on each ticket to events at the venue, at a rate not to exceed 10 percent of the ticket price, was passing with 79.02 percent of the vote.

• A tax on each stall or pen used by livestock during an event at the venue, not to exceed $20 per stall or pen for any event, had 76.85 percent “for” in early results.

• A parking tax, not to exceed $5 for each vehicle, was passing with 72.22 percent.

These are actually pretty reasonable ways to fund an arena, if you have to fund one: All of them come from actual arena operations, not generally applicable tax revenues. Of course, the arena will also be funded by the local share of state hotel tax money, and if all those ticket taxes and such fall short of expectations the city will have to come up with the missing funds from somewhere, but how could an arena that’s too small for major pro sports possibly have a shortfall? I mean, think of all the concerts!

Matthew Harbor runs one of the area’s largest concert and event promoters, SPUNE. He said his company loves doing events in Fort Worth, but he isn’t sure a venue that will only have 13,000 to 14,000 seats (depending on the concert) will draw major entertainers away from established venues, like Dallas’ American Airlines Center.

“It is certainly possible, but I would not place much hope on winning that battle on an ongoing basis,” he wrote in an email to News 8.

Um. Well. That still leaves the livestock show and rodeo, and, um. Well.

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8 comments on “Fort Worth voters approve spending $225m on a new arena for rodeo and, um, that’s about it

  1. Holy crackers, Batman – $450M for 14,000 seats? $32K/seat sounds pretty high. It’s Fort Worth, not midtown Manhattan.

  2. Geoffrey Propheter, who you may remember from his great study of NBA arena economic impact, has a new paper out on whether the availability of subsidies ends up encouraging more expensive sports venues. (Spoilers: You betcha.)

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if we are reading about the Milwaukee Bucks moving to Texas and becoming the Fort Worth Broncos. The arena can easily be expanded from 14,000 to about 20,000 seats. Of course, Mark Cuban could disapprove of this move, but then again, the NBA could easily be a 64 plus team league with teams in such places as Little Rock, Springfield IL, and Scranton PA.

  4. The question I have is the same one I have for all these new arena proposals: What perfectly viable existing arena will be torn down for this?

  5. The Fort Worth Convention Center Arena, which only holds a piddly 11,000, so is way too small and old for, um, whatever.

  6. Why doesn’t a private company build that arena? Then the rodeo fans can vote with their admission, parking, and livestock pen dollars to reimburse the builders. Makes too much sense?

  7. The guy from SPUNE (really? That’s really the name of a thing?) is just getting his dander up. There are more acts these days capable of filling a 13K arena than a 20K one.
    Of course, there are even MORE capable of filling an 11K arena..

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