Lone Star NYE Live!
On the giant screen, a half-dozen college football games were being shown simultaneously leading to periodic loud roars across the giant room.
In its first four months, Texas Live! has had huge turnouts — from the Big 12 Championship game to high school playoffs and, of course, Dallas Cowboys home games.
It has also hosted its share of non-sports events, including concerts, holiday parties, a taco festival and even a Hanukkah celebration.
Now it’s getting into the New Year’s Eve Celebration in a big way.
Just like Times Square, Lone Star NYE will have a ball drop at midnight accompanied by confetti cannons — all inside the 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex that can handle close to 10,000 people.
Admission prices range from $35 to $300 and the whole thing will be televised on KXAS/Channel 5.
There will also be a free outdoor event that will feature live music and fireworks at midnight.
There is hope that it can become the largest New Year’s Eve gathering spot in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“As far as the mass of people, we have a shot at it,” said Jim Watry, the chief operating officer of Texas Live! “There will be lots of layers, lots of packages. There’s always more than one thing going on.”
The $250 million entertainment venue is a partnership between the Cordish Companies, the Texas Rangers and the City of Arlington.
Texas Live! New Year’s Eve, portions of which will be shown on KXAS/NBC5, might bring back memories of Big D NYE that aired on WFAA/Channel 8 from 2007 to 2014. That event was held outside the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.
While the Texas Live! party may not reach the massive crowd size of Big D NYE in its first year, Watry said the plan is to keep growing the event in the future.
“We’ll start looking forward to next year as soon as this one is over,” Watry said.
In the first four months, more than a million people have already come through the entertainment complex.
“We’re drawing people from more than 100 miles away,” Watry said. “The building is designed to keep people in North Texas longer and it’s doing that.”
Some Star-Telegram readers have complained about the shrunken size of this year’s Christkindl Market that’s being held in the plaza outside Texas Live! but that event is presented by the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau — not the entertainment complex.
Others have noted the small crowds at lunch on weekdays. Daily foot traffic will grow when the adjacent Live! by Loews hotel opens in August, Watry said.
“We’re very pleased with our performance in the first four months,” he said.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said the venue’s initial performance has been on track since August..
“They have been hitting or exceeding their expectations,” Williams said. “Frankly, I’m surprised by how much lunch business they have been doing. That is the nature of these types of facilities. They are very busy on weekends — even if they don’t have big sporting events, they have concerts — and on Monday and Thursday nights with NFL football have been off the charts.”
Is it hurting other Arlington restaurants.
One bar and restaurant owner said it hasn’t put a dent in his business because it’s attracting different audiences.
“I think they’re a little more pricey than us,” said Randy Ford, owner of J Gilligan’s Bar and Grill in downtown Arlington. “We have our little niche that I think is a little different than their place in the market. We’re having a very good year, and from what I hear they are, too.”