The Texas Rangers will be playing in a new $1.1 billion retractable roof ballpark in 2020, but it will have a familiar name.
On Thursday, the Rangers announced that the new stadium to be built adjacent to Globe Life Park will be called Globe Life Field after the insurance company extended a naming rights deal with the baseball team.
McKinney-based Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. signed a 10-year deal in 2014 for naming rights at the existing ballpark. Its new deal will run far longer, through 2048. Terms were not disclosed.
“We’re exceedingly happy with the Rangers relationship,” said Bill Leavell, Globe Life’s president and CEO. “We saw those common values with the way we are. It’s a great partnership. It’s a great venue to be able to do some of those things with the Rangers Foundation.”
During the last five years, about $420,000 has been distributed to more than 50 organizations through the Globe Life Texas Rangers Baseball and Softball grant program. That part of the relationship is important to Globe Life, Leavell said.
Joe Januszewski, Texas Rangers executive vice president and chief revenue and marketing officer, said Globe Life had a 90-day exclusive window to negotiate a deal for the new stadium as part of the first deal. It was extended another 30 days as negotiations progressed. There is no opt-out for either side.
“That started shortly after the (Arlington ballpark) vote in November and we negotiated through the spring,” Januszewski said. “It took a little while. We extended the window a couple of times, but we were making wonderful progress. It was a very amicable negotiation. Very professional. We never thought about going out to market and shopping the deal.”
While the dollar amount was not disclosed, both parties said it involves far more money than the previous deal, which was estimated to be between $40 million and $60 million for 10 years. The added attractions of Texas Live! and a new Loews hotel helped sweeten the deal.
“It is significantly more,” Januszewski said. “It is a significantly longer term. It is a brand-new ballpark unlike the previous one, which had a couple of previous names on it. There is significantly more value in a new-spade-in- the-ground ballpark than in an existing ballpark. Thirdly, we’ve got this incredible new development going on with Texas Live! contiguous to it.”
Rob Yowell, president of the Phoenix-based Gemini Sports Group, who has been involved in negotiating naming rights deals in California and other states, said the Globe Life deal could have gone for somewhere between $7 million to $9 million a year or higher.
“Certainly, I would not be surprised if someone came back and said it was more than that,” Yowell said. “It could easily average out to $11 million a year over the life of the deal.”
In November, voters approved the use of tax dollars to pay up to $500 million of the cost of the new stadium, after Arlington and the Rangers announced their deal to build a new stadium in May 2016. The city will use a half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax and 5 percent car-rental tax to fund its share, with the Rangers committed to pay any cost overruns.
The signs of a new stadium are just starting to take shape. Part of Nolan Ryan Expressway near Globe Life Park has been closed along with all of Parking Lot A and a section of Parking Lot B.
Januszewski said other parts of the ballpark may also have naming rights.
“We call those entitlements or neighborhoods whether it’s a seating section or a particular club or clubs,” Januszewski said. “One of the particular benefits of the new ballpark is we’re going to have the opportunity to design from the ground up several new clubs or entertainment zones — kids places, family places — and each of those will have the opportunity to have a naming partner. We’re still wrapping our design phase, so it’s still too early to say what that will look like. In the next six months, we hope to be hitting the ground and talking to other corporate partners.”
He also said that Texas Live!, an entertainment complex being built in a partnership between the Rangers and The Cordish Cos. that’s under construction nearby, could get a sponsor.
“Right now, the brand is Texas Live! and we’re very excited about that,” Januszewski said. “But I would never close the door on opportunities to entitle around that. Texas Live! will always be a part of the name. As to whether we attach a name to that, to be determined.”
The new stadium’s name will not formally include the city of Arlington like the original name of the current stadium, which many fans still call the Ballpark in Arlington.
But Mayor Pro Tem Sheri Capehart said the most important thing for Arlington was to keep the team from leaving the city.
“They are clearly identified with Arlington,” Capehart said. “There’s no question. To me the bigger deal was making sure the relationship with the Rangers remained stable, remained vibrant. They are a great community partner.”
City Councilman Charlie Parker, whose district includes the new ballpark, said Arlington will still be recognized.
“We would much rather have it say Arlington on it,” Parker said. “But in our contract, we have stipulated that it say Arlington in two different places.”
Where Arlington will appear on the stadium is still being worked out as the design is finalized, Parker said.
Founded in 1951, Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. is based in Oklahoma City and owned by Torchmark Corp., which has its headquarters in McKinney. Globe Life has more than 3.9 million policyholders, with a quarter-million of them in Texas, according to the Star-Telegram archives.
Globe Life says it has 1,500 employees based in McKinney.