On April 1, 1994, a new era for the Texas Rangers began with the opening of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The beautiful baseball-only facility serves as the centerpiece of a 270-acre complex which solidifies Arlington, Texas as an entertainment giant in the Southwest.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, completed in just 23 months, is a state-of-the-art building with the utmost in customer convenience. Yet, the 48,114-seat open-air ballpark was designed and built with tradition and intimacy in mind, containing features such as a granite and brick facade, exposed structural steel, an asymmetrical playing field, and a home run porch in right field. Texas architecture is featured throughout, from the outer facade to the Lone Stars in the concourses and on the seat aisles.
This unique complex also includes a four-story office building within the ballpark, a 12-acre lake, and parks and recreation space on the perimeter. Total cost of the project was approximately $191 million.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is located a quarter mile southeast of the old Arlington Stadium site at the corner of Randol Mill Road and Ballpark Way (formerly Stadium Drive). Parking lots and the other complex features surround the park. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and the entire complex is easily accessible from Interstate 30, which is adjacent to the north side of the site.
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington contains approximately 1,400,000 square feet. The ballpark measures 114 feet from street level to the top of the roof canopy.
The agreement between the Rangers and the City of Arlington, Texas to build a new ballpark was announced on October 24, 1990. Actual construction began on April 24, 1992. The ballpark was named on September 28, 1993. The first game was an exhibition contest between the Rangers and New York Mets on April 1, 1994 with the first regular season game played on April 11, 1994 between the Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.
From May 7, 2004 until March 18, 2007 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was named Ameriquest Field in Arlington as a part of an agreement between the Texas Rangers and Ameriquest Mortgage Company. The agreement ended and the company returned the naming rights to the team on March 19, 2007.
Natural Grass: The infield playing surface of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington consists of certified Tifway 419. The turf was provided by Tri-Tex Grass in Granbury, Texas and was laid in October 2007. Drainage lines are laid every 15 feet over the entire field. The playing surface is then covered by 4-5 inches of pea gravel and 10-12 inches of sand mixture as the field is expected to have the capacity to drain 9-10 inches of water per hour. The field's irrigation system allows the entire outfield to be watered from one station, producing 750 gallons per minute or 50,000 gallons per hour, as compared to 18,000 gallons per hour in Arlington Stadium.
For water efficiency, the soil is monitored by a below-ground sensor that detects when water is needed or even which zones of the field are dry.
Field Dimensions: The outfield dimensions are asymmetrical, a feature common to ballparks constructed in the early 20th century. From home plate to the left field foul pole is 332 feet with an increase to 390 feet in the left field power alley. Straightaway center field measures 400 feet, then moves to the deepest point, 407 feet, approaching right center. The Rangers bullpen comes into play in right field as a 381-foot power alley juts out to 377 feet at the right corner of the bullpen. There is again a dramatic decrease in distance in the right field corner as the foul pole sits just 325 feet from home plate.
The outfield fences are eight feet in center and right fields and 14 feet in left. The playing surface is 22 feet below street level.
According to studies done before construction, the prevailing winds are south-southeast. The effect of the wind is greatly reduced by the fact that the ballpark is completely enclosed by a four-story office building in center field. In addition, a giant windscreen, measuring 42 by 430 feet, was installed on the roof of the office building to further minimize the wind.
Close to the Field: The proximity of the fans to the action is among the closest in the major leagues. The first row of seats on the first and third base sides (near side of dugouts) are just 56' 8" from home plate (compared to 64 feet at Arlington Stadium) while the first row of seats on each side (far sides of dugouts) will be just 44 feet from first and third bases, respectively. The distance from the screen behind the plate to home plate is 50 feet, one inch.
Dugouts/Bullpens: Both the first (home) and third (visitors) base dugouts are 68 feet in length. Dugouts at Arlington Stadium were 51 feet on the 1st base side and 52 feet on the 3rd base side. The Rangers bullpen is parallel to the playing field in right center in front of the home run porch. The visitor's bullpen was reconfigured to run parallel to the left center fence in the same orientation as the Rangers bullpen, occupying an area that was previously bleacher seating.
Foul Poles: The yellow foul poles down each line were taken from Arlington Stadium.
The overall seating capacity of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is 48,114 seats on five levels. All of the seats in the ballpark are angled toward home plate as the seating bowl cranks in toward the field down both the left and right field lines to provide better sightlines.
The actual seats are green plastic chairs measuring from 18-22 inches in width. Most of the seats in the ballpark contain cupholders. The Rangers replaced approximatley 10,000 seats in the lower seating bowl prior to the 2013 season. There is a special feature on aisle seats in the park, a Texas Lone Star that is similar to the ones that adorn both the outer facade and concourses.
There are five levels of seating at the ballpark: lower deck, lower suites, Lexus Club Level, upper suites, and upper deck. There is also an upper and lower deck in the home run porch in right field, and bleacher seating in center field.
Lexus Club Level: This premium seating area has wider seats (22"), more leg room, as well as individual wait service for Sections 217-235. The Lexus Club Level, with its white paneling and black and white tiled floors, stretches around the entire length of the seating bowl with access to both the Lower and Upper Suite Levels. Smoking is not permitted on the Lexus Club Level.
Suites: There are 127 suites, 58 on the lower level and 69 on the upper level, with sizes ranging from 10 to 120 people. Each suite bay (containing two suites) is named for one of baseball's Hall of Fame players, including Nolan Ryan. Sepia tone murals of the legends are located outside each suite.
Home Plate Seats: A new premium seating option was added for 2009 with the addition of two rows of Home Plate Seats. A third row of Home Ploate Seats has been added for 2013. A total of 148 seats are located in front of sections 21-30 between the two dugouts. The Home Plate Seats provide the following amenities:
Commissioners Boxes: In 2009, the Rangers also added 66 seats in 2 rows with the addition of a Third Base Commissioners Box, an extension of Sections 16 and 17 past the third base dugout. Those seats are similar to the First Base Commissioner's Box, which was added as a location in 2000.
Home Run Porch: This two-tiered seating area in right field is very reminiscent of traditional older ballparks with its steel columns and overhead roof. Overhead fans were installed for both the lower and upper home run porch to provide more comfort. The upper home run porch houses the All You Can Eat Seats, where fans can enjoy unlimited grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, and soft drinks, served in the air-conditioned grill behind the Upper Home Run Porch.
Wheelchair Seating: Rangers Ballpark contains more than 475 spaces for wheelchairs. These spaces are located within each price level. In addition, Companion Seat spaces have been included to allow guests in wheelchairs to sit with friends or family members (in certain locations, this seating may be on folding chairs obtained from a Customer Service Representative or the Guest Relations office). Rangers Ballpark in Arlington also features access to specially designed restrooms, ticket windows, and concession stands.
The interior of the ballpark consists of four levels:
Service Level: A below-ground service level extends from the right field corner to the end of the left field seats. It houses the clubhouses, maintenance, and concession storage areas while providing vehicle access to the field in the left field corner. In addition to the Rangers' and visitors' clubhouses, there are weight rooms and batting tunnels for both teams. An auxiliary clubhouse area was also constructed for special events.
Main Concourse: The massive main concourse, serving the lower deck, is comprised of two areas. The outer concourse, measuring 70 feet high, runs in a square around the park and contains the entrance gates and ramps to the upper levels. Iron gates were used to close the lower arches. An inner concourse, measuring 35 feet high, runs in the shape of the seating bowl and contains the concessions and entries to the lower deck seating. The white walls and green structural steel trusses with Texas Lone Stars provide a spectacular background. The existing concessions stands located on the Main Concourse behind home plate have been renovated to create display cooking areas, similar to what was done in Vandergrif Plaza prior to 2012.
Lexus Club Level: As mentioned above, the Lexus Club Level stretches around the lower seating bowl and provides direct access to the lower and upper suite levels.
Upper Concourse: The open-air upper concourse runs from the right field line to the left field side of the office building and provides access to the upper deck. Concession stands are under cover in areas under the upper deck seating. Huge baseball-shaped light fixtures ring the perimeter of the upper concourse. The average slope of the upper deck is approximately 32 degrees. Red handrails are also installed throughout the upper deck.
Structure: A lower and upper set of concrete arches comprise the outer walls of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The exterior facade of the ballpark consists of "Sunset Red" granite from quarries in Marble Falls, Texas, along the lower arches and approximately 840,000 "Ranger Red" bricks on the upper arches. To highlight the Texas architecture, there are 35 steer heads and 21 Lone Stars, made of cast-stone, erected above the upper arches around the entire ballpark. Another feature is a series of murals depicting Texas scenes, and those are located between the lower and upper arches on the outer facade.
The structural type above grade in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is exposed structural steel, painted "Ranger Green". The lower deck seating is cast-in-place concrete, and the club and upper deck seating are structural pre-cast concrete risers. A steel roof canopy runs the entire length of the upper deck.
Access: The entrances to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington are located in the four corners of the structure, First Base, Home Plate, Third Base, and Center Field. Four ramps and eight escalators serve all levels.
The Rangers have made significant improvements in the video, technology, and audio systems at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The club has partnered with Daktronics Inc. and the Sony Corporation to deliver high-definition digital content throughout the ballpark in a number of different formats. The upgrades have dramatically enhanced the in-park experience for Rangers fans with high quality video, technology, and audio and additional information.
The recent Rangers Ballpark in Arlington upgrades include the following elements:
NEW VIDEO BOARDS: The existing video board on the roof of the Home Run Porch, which was 24 by 36 feet (864 square feet) has been replaced by a new board that measures 42 by 120 feet (5,040 square feet). In addition, a new video board that is 25 by 29 feet (725 square feet) has replaced the Coca-Cola matrix board on top of the office building in centerfield. The old video board used standard definition technology while the new boards are high-definition.
Both the Home Run Porch and Centerfield video displays utilize Daktronics newest 15 millimeter LED technology, featuring tighter resolution and improved image quality. This technology and its control system allow for complete flexibility in programming. The video boards can operate as single giant displays or be divided into multiple zones (windows) to show a wide variety of statistics, information, graphics, animation, and live and recorded video.
The Daktronics Pro Star Video Display Board, which measures 12 feet high and 84 feet wide and replaced the manual scoreboard on the left field wall prior to the 2009 season, has been upgraded with HD technology. The three boards provide HD video capability to fans from any vantage point in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. A large video board was also added in 2012 located in Vandergriff Plaza attached to the Batter's Eye Club.
IPTV SYSTEM: The new Daktronics LED video and the existing ribbon and field-level displays that were installed in 2009, have been combined with more than 800 Sony® professional-grade LCD monitors to create a venue-wide digital media network. The Daktronics system is an internet protocol television (IPTV) solution that delivers multiple live content on 10 high-def channels to any display in the ballpark.
The Rangers use Daktronics industry-leading data integration capabilities to instantly present up-to-the-minute scores, statistics, news and information on any IPTV channel. The Sony LCD monitors are located throughout Rangers Ballpark. This includes all permanent concession stands, where the monitors can become changeable menu boards, allowing for the display of concession items in HD and the ability to change pricing in-game.
"L Bar" technology is available as part of the IPTV system, allowing for information and advertising opportunities on screen during game action.
SHOW CONTROL SYSTEM: At the center of the control solution is the Rangers new Show Control system, with the ability to take in various video, scoring, timing, statistical data and out-of-town scores and even point of sale information. With the Show Control system, all displays across the network can be turned on or off, control their volume or change the channel so all the displays show the same piece of content. One system provides total control and total integration. With the click of a single button one message can be delivered anytime to all displays everywhere throughout the ballpark. The Rangers have added additional cameras to further enhance the "in-park show" at Rangers Ballpark. Sony oversaw a complete rebuild of the Rangers Ballpark scoreboard control room to incorporate the new system.
AUDIO SYSTEM: The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington audio system has received a total overhaul with the old speakers being replaced and the additional of technology upgrades and production equipment to complement the enhanced video product.
The above upgrades in technology follow the installation of three full color LED linear panels, Daktronics ProAd© Displays, which were installed for the 2009 season in the following locations:
The total length of the LED linear panels measure 1276 linear feet, the 3rd longest of any major league park behind Dolphins Stadium (2118 feet) and the new Yankee Stadium (1285 feet). The panels allow for more key game information in addition to serving as advertising space.
Delaware North Sportservice handles the general food and beverage concessions for the ballpark as well as food and beverage service for The Diamond Club, Capital One Club, private suites, and the press dining facility. For more information on Sportservice please visit www.txbaseball.com.
There are more than 100 fixed and portable concession stands on the three concourses, compared to 40 total at Arlington Stadium. Beverages are dispensed to the concession stands by a central beverage distribution system which travels from the service level to the stands over some 30 miles of tubing.
Office Building: One of the signature features of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is the four-story office building that encloses the structure from left center to right center fields. The office building has 35,000 square feet on each level. The first floor includes retail shops and ticket windows, the second and third floors are leased for commercial office space, and the Rangers' executive offices occupy the fourth floor. The side of the building facing the playing field consists of floor to ceiling glass on each floor with balconies stretching the entire length of the structure on the top three levels. Steel trusses also adorn the building. The roof of the office building contains a total of eight ad panels around the center field scoreboard.
Parking: Fifteen different parking lots surround Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Sound System: There are over 1,200 speakers for the public address system at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Those are distributed evenly throughout the park as no fan is more than 75 feet from a speaker.
Greene's Hill: The natural grass batter's eye in centerfield was named for former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene in November, 1997.
Statues in Vandergriff Plaza: Two men who played enormous roles in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise are honored with full size bronze statues in Vandergriff Plaza. Statues of Tom Vandergriff and Nolan Ryan were dedicated in 1997. The statues were produced by noted sculptor Toby Mendez of Washington County, Maryland.
The revised cost of the overall project is approximately $191 million dollars. The financing was derived from $135 million dollars in bonds issued by the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority with the remaining equity raised through the sale or lease of luxury boxes and seat options in the new ballpark, loans guaranteed by the Rangers, the concessions contract with Sportservice and city street funds.
Annual debt service for the municipal bonds is provided by public-private sharing. That is comprised of a $3.5 million dollar rental payment from the Rangers and a one-half cent City of Arlington sales tax. The sales tax was approved in an Arlington municipal election by a 65% majority on January 19, 1991, and expired when the debt was retired in November, 2001.
The Rangers have a lease with the City of Arlington, and the club maintains and operates the entire facility.
Design Architect: David M. Schwarz Architectural Services of Washington, D.C. was the design architect on the project. Schwarz was selected from among 17 architects who originally made presentations in August, 1991. He has been involved in a number of projects in Texas including the Bass Performance Hall, Cook-Fort Worth Children's Medical Center and Sundance West, also in Fort Worth. His imaginative design of the park reflects a traditional look of older ballparks and includes a major Texas influence.
Architect of Record: HKS, Inc. The Dallas-based firm, which was founded in 1939, has grown to become the fifth largest architectural firm in the country, and has executed commissions for over nine billion dollars of structures in 39 states and seven foreign countries.