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Rangers and Dallas Confirm Past Ballpark Talks

Proposed Texas Rangers ballpark

As expected, the Texas Rangers and City of Dallas officials previously engaged in ballpark talks, but both sides agree that the process never heavily progressed.

The Rangers are vying for a new retractable-roof ballpark in Arlington (shown above), where some officials–including Arlington mayor Jeff Williams–claim that the team had received overtures about a new ballpark in Dallas. That the Rangers had talks with Dallas was previously believed, and now both the Rangers and mayor Mike Rawlings confirm that there were discussions, but say that they never took off.

Dallas faced a few issues in trying to attract the Rangers, one of the main hindrances being timing. According to Rawlings, trying to convince residents of Dallas to approve of a ballpark would have been tough because the Rangers’ lease for Globe Life Park does not expire until after the 2023 season. Rangers officials, including minority owner Ken Hersh, say that talks with Dallas were never conducted with a sense of urgency.

Even when considering this information, Williams still believes that Arlington voters should approve the ballpark. His logic? That down the road, Dallas might have more flexibility to pull off a plan down the road than Arlington. More from the Star-Telegram:

Williams said Arlington doesn’t have a big enough private sector, for example, to raise that kind of cash.

“We knew we were in jeopardy,” Williams said. “It may not just be Dallas, but they have the power and the resources to make it happen. … They’ve got the money or they can raise it.”

Which is why Arlington got aggressive in making a deal with the Rangers years before the current lease was set to expire, Williams said.

“We were trying to avoid a bidding war and competition from other communities. Our big thing is that we could build the facility sooner than the others and that it would also make it cheaper. I firmly believe that the price would have gone up” if the city had waited until near the end of the lease.

For opponents and proponents alike, whether the Rangers would seriously consider a move to Dallas is a major sticking point. Those in favor of the retractable-roof ballpark say that it will ensure that the team stays in Arlington and prevents any further discussions with Dallas, while many against the ballpark have said that the viability of a move to Dallas has been exaggerated.

As to be considered by Arlington voters, the retractable roof ballpark will cost roughly $1 billion. The cost will be evenly split between the Rangers and the city, which will cover its portion by extending a 2% hotel tax and 5% car rental tax that is being used to pay for AT&T Stadium. If approved, the ballpark would open in 2020 or 2021.

Rendering courtesy of Populous.

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