ARLINGTON — The Texas Rangers will now play baseball at Globe Life Park in Arlington after the team inked a 10-year, multimillion-dollar naming-rights deal with an insurance company, officials announced Wednesday.The 20-year-old stadium has been known as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for seven years, since the last naming-rights deal fell apart. Though the team would not disclose the financial terms, co-owner Ray Davis said the additional revenue will increase the organization’s “flexibility to remain competitive long-term and short-term.”Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. is based in Oklahoma City and owned by Torchmark Corp., which has its headquarters in McKinney. The Rangers began aggressively courting naming-rights partners last summer, reaching out to hundreds of companies nationally and internationally before narrowing the search down to “three very viable candidates with great offers,” said Joe Januszewski, the team’s executive vice president of partnerships. Globe Life’s financial stability, “their local roots and their desire to partner with us in the community” made the 63-year-old company the clear choice, he said.Besides being the team’s official life insurance partner under the deal, Globe Life will also be the title sponsor of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, a charity that supports youth baseball and softball. The value of the Globe Life partnership stacks up well against other naming-rights deals for baseball stadiums in the past two decades, Januszewski said.“When you look at the deals that have been done, I would put us in the top two of any of the other ballparks that have partners in the names on their buildings,” Januszewski said. The length of the deal coincides with the end of the Rangers’ 30-year lease on the ballpark with Arlington. The city-owned stadium opened in 1994.“When you look at naming-rights deals, this is a short-term deal. But we are hopeful it leads to bigger things beyond,” Januszewski said.Globe Life, founded in 1951, has more than 3.9 million policyholders, a quarter-million of them in Texas. The company employs 650 people at its offices in McKinney and Oklahoma City. “We are excited to see the Globe Life name on this beautiful facility,” company President Bill Leavell said.With 81 games and more than 3 million visitors at the ballpark each year, Leavell said, the deal should heighten Globe Life’s visibility. Januszewski said the deal will also expand the team’s exposure to Globe Life’s millions of customers. Signs featuring the new name and logo will be in place before the team’s season opener March 31 against the Philadelphia Phillies.The stadium was originally called The Ballpark in Arlington, and keeping Arlington in its name was crucial, Davis said.“Arlington has been an excellent partner for us. We are in Arlington. We want to honor that,” Davis said. “There is 20 years of history here and it’s extremely important we don’t forget our history.” Fan reaction to the new name on social media sites ranged from unimpressed to outraged, with comments such as “barf,” “lame” and “at least they kept Arlington in the name.” Others said naming the ballpark after Hall of Famer and former Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan would have been better. But some said, whatever the name, “It will always be The Ballpark in my book.”The stadium’s first naming-rights deal was supposed to last for 30 years but was short-lived.Ameriquest, a Southern California company that was once the country’s biggest subprime lender, signed a $75 million deal with the Rangers to change the name to Ameriquest Field in 2004. But the company pulled out of the deal in 2007 after the subprime mortgage market collapsed and Ameriquest agreed to a $325 million settlement with 49 states over predatory lending practices. The company soon went out of business.The new deal comes six months after nearby Cowboys Stadium was renamed AT&T Stadium under a multimillion-dollar deal between the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas-based telecommunications giant. This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock