Arlington Chamber Corrects Incorrect Report by WFAA-TV, Channel 8 on Rangers Ballpark
Michael Jacobson, President and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, has released the following statement to set the record straight.
ARLINGTON, TX – June 23, 2016 – Just as All Star baseball players often have bad days at the plate, so did an award-winning journalist at WFAA who struck out repeatedly in the Tuesday’s June 21 story about the proposed new Rangers ballpark in Arlington.
Because WFAA’s unbalanced story ignored contrary views and facts, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce would like to correct a few of the most obvious errors:
Negotiations for the ballpark were comprehensive.
The WFAA story falsely claims that negotiations between the city and Texas Rangers lasted only a couple of months. The fact is they were in discussions to extend their relationship for more than a year.
Economic development is happening near the ballpark.
Engineers and architects have been working hard since last year on the Texas Live! project, a $200 million mixed-used development featuring dining, family entertainment, an upscale hotel and a convention facility, with construction expected to start this fall.
Arlington leaders have been transparent about the ballpark agreement.
City leaders and city staff should be commended for being open and transparent about all details of the ballpark agreement. The complete agreement – every single page – was posted online for all to see less than 24 hours after the City Council voted to present the project to Arlington voters for approval.
Ballpark will be funded 50/50 between the team and city.
WFAA either omitted facts or is confused by the funding agreement, specifically the use of parking and admission fees to cover a portion of the construction. As part of the agreement, the Rangers have the option to use a portion of the revenue they collect for parking and admission – revenue that would typically go to their bottom line – to help pay for the ballpark, though the club has not made a decision on whether to utilize this option. This information was provided to WFAA but the reporter chose to ignore this fact. Furthermore, WFAA’s baseless assertion that Arlington taxpayers could pay for 80% of the stadium is absurd and brings into the question accuracy of their entire story.
Sports facilities have been a great success for Arlington.
WFAA was forced to look far beyond Texas to find economists who disapprove of the ballpark agreement. Had they simply spoken to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce their reporter would have found sports facilities have been great financially for our city, bringing in millions of dollars of revenue from visitors and tourists. The ballpark and stadium driven revenue from outside our city has helped our families enjoy the lowest sales tax rate and one of the lowest property tax rates in North Texas.
The facts are clear – a new Texas Rangers ballpark will be another win for Arlington. Trying to claim it will be anything but a success for our city is ignoring the scoreboard.
There has been a steady stream of biased coverage about the new Rangers ballpark from Dallas media. I am sure they have their motives, and it is possible that they are not in the best interests of Arlington. But the good news is outside forces will not make this decision. We are fortunate that Arlington’s future rests in the hands of our citizens on November 8th who will vote yes to keep our beloved Rangers in Arlington.