Too many Arlington residents have grown complacent about their city’s assets, one of which is the Texas Rangers baseball team.
Only 27 cities host a Major League Baseball team, and most are much bigger than Arlington.
Only 24 cities are home to both an MLB team and a National League Football team. Arlington, ranked about 50th among U.S. cities in population, is one.
Yet an exclusive WFAA/Star-Telegram poll says just as many Arlington residents would let the Rangers slip away to another city as would invest in keeping them.
A consulting firm hired by the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau said the Rangers alone bring $77.5 million a year to the city.
Argue about the numbers if you will, but it’s foolish to say the impact is anything less than huge.
Just as Arlington can lock down that income for another four decades, when there is a real opportunity to expand it with the Texas Live! hotel, convention center and entertainment complex planned across from Globe Life Park, some residents are balking.
They oppose a city plan to partner with the Rangers on a new, retractable-roof stadium. The team’s Globe Life Park lease runs out after the 2023 season.
They say the city’s cost, $500 million, primarily through an existing sales tax, is too high.
They’re wrong. Tied to a new lease until 2054, the Rangers would continue to draw visitors and their spending to Arlington year after year.
Over half of the city’s costs, according to an Arlington Chamber of Commerce study, will be paid by visitors drawn to events at the new stadium.
Some naysayers reject that investment opportunity because they believe that the team’s owners are wealthy enough to pay for the new stadium themselves.
That shortsighted resentment ignores the value the team has for Arlington, both in hard income and in showcasing the city to the rest of the nation.
Opponents also say putting the team in a new, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled facility will lead to higher prices for Rangers game tickets.
But the summer sun keeps many fans away from games. The team’s owners clearly believe that the new stadium is necessary, in Arlington or elsewhere.
The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends that Arlington residents vote for the new Rangers stadium.