Arlington will tax tickets and parking to help Rangers pay for their debt on stadium

Baseball fans going to Globe Life Field will pay a 10% tax on tickets and a $3 tax for parking, which will go to the Rangers to help the team with its portion of the debt on the $1.2 billion stadium.

The Arlington City Council in an unanimous vote on Tuesday tentatively approved rules to collect and enforce the taxes at the new Texas Rangers ballpark. The city did something similar with AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park.

Voters approved the tax in November 2016. The council will consider the ordinance a second time in a future meeting. If approved, it will take effect when the stadium opens next year.

The city is paying its portion of the debt, $500 million, through a half-cent sales tax and taxes on hotels and car rentals.

City Manager Trey Yelverton described the arrangement as a collaboration between the team and its fans.

“The team clearly has a desire and will to put out a great product and a great fan experience to make money,” Yelverton said after the meeting.

“The city has a great interest in capturing money being spent here to provide growth in our economy for investment in public services for our community, and the fans want to have a great experience too, but they’re part of the formula. So that’s where their piece comes in.”

Yelverton said the team could raise prices by 10%, but league rules complicate that option. By putting a tax in place specifically designed to pay down a portion of the debt, the team collects the tax and sends it to the city for its debt payment.

The original cost of the stadium was billed at $1 billion, but latest estimates show the cost at $1.2 billion. The tax will expire when the stadium debt is paid off.

Yelverton said the team could have also added a fee for season ticket holders but opted not to.

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James Hartley is the Arlington city government reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is passionate about local politics, true stories, movies and baseball. He has worked for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, D Magazine and the Dallas Observer. You can connect with James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. Want reporters like James to help you stay informed about your community? You can help the Star-Telegram continue to offer great local, political, sports and culture news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.