Rangers stadium to cost Arlington taxpayers at least $500m, many questions remain unanswered

The Texas Rangers owners and the city of Arlington unveiled their proposal for a new retractable-roofed stadium on Friday, sketching in some more of the details that had been left out of that morning’s leak:

  • The stadium would now cost $1 billion, with Arlington taxpayers’ share at $500 million. No idea why the price tag is $100 million higher than it was on Friday morning, though the conspiracy-minded will note that even if the actual cost estimate is the same, upping the target price means the Rangers owners’ responsibility to pay for all cost overruns won’t kick in as soon now.
  • For the Rangers owners’ share, they would get to use personal seat license fees plus parking and ticket tax money, which would pay off bonds sold by the city — meaning if PSL sales fell short, say, the city could end up on the hook for more than $500 million. This, you’ll recall, was the initial concern with the San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, and though that worked out okay in the end when the PSLs sold out, it’s still an added risk for Arlington.
  • The public’s base $500 million will come from the 0.5% sales tax surcharge, 2% hotel tax surcharge, and 5% car rental tax surcharge currently being used to pay off the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium, which the Dallas Star-Telegram calls “no new taxes.” Except that the Cowboys stadium was set to be paid off in 2021, at which point those taxes could either have been eliminated or redirected toward something else — so really this is a new extension of existing taxes for as much as an additional 30 years.
  • The Rangers will continue to pay the same $2 million a year rent to the city that they pay on their current stadium.
  • The city council will vote on a stadium agreement tomorrow — apparently Texas doesn’t believe in things like public hearings — and if approved, the project will then go before voters in November, something that the Dallas Morning News entirely left out of its ten-point rundown of the proposal, which stated the stadium plans entirely in the simple future tense (“It will be open by April 2021”). Way to go, writers on the fait accompli beat.
  • While most of the existing Globe Life Park would be torn down to make way for parking lots (the new stadium would be built on existing parking lots), there could be attempts to save “parts of the facade and other historic features” at the ballpark, which is younger than all but one player on the Rangers’ current roster.

That tells us a lot more than we knew Friday morning, but there are still a bunch of unanswered questions:

  • Nobody knows how the first few years of construction bond payments will be paid off, since the taxes involved still need to keep being used for Cowboys stadium debt through 2021.
  • Will the Rangers owners pay any property taxes on the place? Who will pay maintenance and operations costs? Will Arlington get any share at all of stadium revenues like naming rights, or will the public have to pay off its share entirely from tax revenue while the Rangers get to use actual stadium income for theirs?
  • What do Arlington residents think of the deal? (The Star-Telegram ran an article headlined “What fans, Arlington officials are saying” but then apparently forgot to interview any actual fans, since the only quotes (aside from one local sports bar owner) were from current and former elected officials who supported the deal.)

But hey, there’s still time to work all that out in the next 24 hours before the council vote, right?

Here, just look at some renderings of what the final stadium design almost certainly won’t look like, instead of worrying about all that. It’s what the Rangers owners surely want you to do:

Rangers renderingRangers3

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35 comments on “Rangers stadium to cost Arlington taxpayers at least $500m, many questions remain unanswered

  1. Oh, look – it’s SAFECO Field, Texas edition.

    When Arlington’s visitors got fleeced to build the JerrahDome, at least we got some new, snazzy architecture and a big-ass Tron to look at.

    For that kind of money, the Rangers seriously need to up their vaportecture game.

  2. How do rental car taxes get apportioned to Arlington? Genuinely curious. I know both Irving (where DFW is located) and Arlington are in Tarrant County (which is the Ft. Worth side of the metroplex). Is the county allowing Arlington access to rental car taxes at the airport. Because, hey nice geographic bonus.

    I mean if the airport were technically in Dallas county and Dallas were really trying to ‘steal’ the Rangers, this seems much less likely. Also, why doesn’t the Dallas city council release a statement that says, “Hey, we have no interest in the Rangers.’ I probably won’t kill the deal but maybe it’ll make some people reconsider how badly they want to continue to tax ‘tourists.’

    1. It’s a city tax, not county, so presumably doesn’t apply to airport rentals:

      “Beginning April 1, 2005 car rental agencies in Arlington began collecting a 5 percent tax on the gross rental receipts for the rental of a motor vehicle on behalf of the City of Arlington.”


      1. I just assumed as I was literally in Dallas two weeks ago and my rental car taxes were something north of 80% of my base rate.

        Also, with them paying both Jerreh World and the ballpark formerly known as The Ballpark at Arlington early, I figured they must be siphoning money from the airport rental spigot.

        1. As I recall a few years back, the rental cars companies somewhere were suing over the taxes attached to their business to build stadiums.

      2. The crazy Dallas airport rental-car fees go to the Mavs/Stars arena, among other things:


          1. LOL. I guess this is what they mean by “give til it hurts”, Michael…

    2. DFW Airport is not in Irving per se as it was built within both Tarrant and Dallas Counties and it does not answer to a specific municipal government. It is owned jointly by the cities of Dallas and Ft. Worth and has its own police force and ZIP code, but it is surrounded by Irving (Dallas County) and three Tarrant County communities (Colleyville to the west, Grapevine to the north, and Euless to the south). It is

      1. You could make the argument that part of the airport is in Irving as cities do have multiple zip codes.

      2. Actually, The land is owned by Dallas and Fort Worth, but in the cities of Irving, Grapevine, and Euless. How taxes are done aty D/FW airport is Byzantine because of this. The airport has a cut, Dallas and Fort Worth has a cut, and the cities the land is in get a cut. I grew up out in the Metroplex and still have only slight understanding how it all works.

    3. Irving is in Dallas county. Arlington as well as the DFW rental car agencies serving the DFW airport are in Tarrant county. It’s OK, the idiots in the Dallas City council once thought raising the rental tax at the airport would bring them a few bucks when they were looking for excuses to put the Cowflops stadium in Dallas years back.

      Love Field is in Dallas county. So if you rented a car there you are funding the coffers of Dallas.

  3. SierraSpartan…..yeah I was thinking the same (a previous comment from here concurs with yours). But…this may have that translucent roof, which unless it is made of that photochromic material from the folks at PPG (yep, that still exists….like in 4th or 5th generation form), it may STILL be too warm for the fans during the summer.

    Another item came to mind here: even if they sign a lease which keeps them in Arlington til 2045 or so….how are the taxpayers being assured that mid term, they will not be asked to build ANOTHER NEW BALLPARK? After all, they could have a ‘fan experience improvement’ clause put in, with escape from same procedures. No different than what the Lambs who died down by the Edward Jones Dome had.(sorry about the poor pun based on a Genesis album there).

  4. Off topic a bit, but whenever the subject of the Yorks/49ers/Santa Clara stadium is raised I always wonder…

    “Why do good things happen to bad people?”

  5. What is the over/under on the Yankees asking for a new ballpark because they can’t seem to fill this one (except for soccer)?

    1. This one lacks the amenities that Yankee fans demand, like Derek Jeter.

      1. They could put a statue of him playing 2nd base on the infield.

        Have about the same range.


  6. Stadium looks great. Guessing that there will be five thousand or so fewer seats, mainly by eliminating outfield seats. Looks like a win-win-win (Rangers-city-fans).

      1. I think I’ve seen those “win-win” upper deck seats before–in New Comiskey Park (or whatever phone company it is named after now). Watching hot dog wrappers fly from the field level will be a great amusement for folks not seeing the actual game.

        This might be the most boring stadium design ever, which means it is a huge improvement over having fake trains, fake irregular walls, and fake historical features from MLB’s “Mini Golf School of Design” era. Yay.

        Where’s the roof though? On the left? Or is it so translucent that we can’t see it?

      2. Neil, you don’t want to build stadiums unless you have two teams. Even then, building two stadiums can be risky. These stadiums attract a lot of non-baseball events, like the Kenny Chesney concert that’s coming up at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Building two stadiums could upset the delicate balance of supply and demand.

        1. Where would our society be if we didn’t spend a billion dollars to have a Kenny Chesney concert venue? Where would he play? Oh, in the stadiums that already exist? Or a basketball arena? Or–gasp–a music club.

          Good grief.

        2. Don’t make fun of Kenny Chesney. Without him and other pop stars, the U.S. economy would cease to exist, as everyone would just sit at home all day and stare at their walls.

          1. Big stars like him basically “sell” music as a loss leader for their concert business. Places like Arlington have an obligation to help our artistic community out.

  7. I’d also point out that the promenade in the picture as designed makes the Rangers absolutely no money and will not be built this way, so start your laughing here. It will be surrounded by a wall of Lone Star Steakhouses, a fake biergarten, Dippin Dots carts, and the Jose Canseco Experience virtual reality ride.

    1. …you forgot the Dallas Cowboys Team Store. You know, just in case folks missed the one at the big-ass Dome across the street.

  8. Nice vaportecture, especially the part where you cut off the actual roof in the picture as not to remind people that domed baseball stadiums, retractable or not, kind of suck.

  9. Even for artist renderings these are pretty comical. There’s no sign of the roof anywhere and having an entire end of the stadium open isn’t going to work with the air conditioning which is one of the main reasons they want a new park.

    1. It’s a new art form: surrealist renderings. Wait till you see the ones with the melting clocks.

  10. Another giant boondoggle that the Arlington city cronies, errrr… council couldn’t wait to pass. They even trotted out a $77 million figure for the impact the Rangers have on the city every year. Those studies are accurate and trustworthy, right? Right?

  11. There’s a rail system maybe 500 yards from the stadium if they want more revunue build an extension for the TRE that circles the stadiums and six flags. tax the mess out of the people who ride not the good citizens of Arlington

    1. Pat….they just may do that. Or bring in a private firm (like PDX did with Bectel to build the MAX extension) to construct a spur, the cost of which will be passed on to the public. That done by a ‘slight’ fare increase.

      As for the roof…from those wonderful renderings, it looks like a collapsible cup type of design. Which is going to be all so wonderful, except for some possible sealing issues so the AC can work. Let alone the possible issues with the translucent glass in same being scratched (when it is opened and retracted), so it will look like a modern art masterpiece…but may cause the folks in Arlington to be on the hook for a replacement. Gee…the cost of that alone would be that for another ballpark….how about that!!!

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