Texas Rangers join trend of sports entertainment centers with $250 million 'Texas Live'

Key Points
  • A 200,000-square-foot sports entertainment venue in Arlington, Texas, opens this week.
  • The complex is a joint project between the city of Arlington, the Texas Rangers and the Cordish Cos.
  • The venue cost $250 million and is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs.
Texas Live! will open between the Texas Rangers’ Globe Life Park and Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and will sit next to the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark, Globe Life Field, when it opens in 2020.
Source: Cordish Companies/Texas Rangers

Between the Texas Rangers' and Dallas Cowboys' stadiums in Arlington, Texas, a $250 million entertainment center called Texas Live opens this week, which hopes to bring new life to the region.

"Fans today want more than just a venue to watch sports," said Neil Leibman, chairman of the Texas Rangers, who helped fund the project. "They want to be able to tailgate, come out after a game to have food and beverages – this provides that social setting."

Texas Live has 200,000 square feet of dining and entertainment. The venue features local favorites like former Dallas Cowboys star Troy Aikman's restaurant Troy. There's also a country-themed restaurant, PBR Texas, a Lockhart Smokehouse and a venue from Guy Fieri.

The development is a joint project between the city of Arlington, The Cordish Cos. and the Texas Rangers.

"It's now a proven winner," said David Cordish, chairman and CEO of The Cordish Cos., which has partnered with a dozen different teams to build similar entertainment venues. Past projects by The Cordish Cos. include with teams ranging from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Atlanta Braves to the Philadelphia Flyers. It just signed its latest deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Texas Live!, a partnership between The Cordish Companies and the Texas Rangers, is a $250 million world-class dining, entertainment and hospitality district.
Source: Cordish Companies/Texas Rangers

Entertainment districts near sports venues are not new. An increasing number of sports teams are investing in entertainment districts as a way to bring in revenue From AEG's $2.5 billion LA Live to the Gateway District in Cleveland they are found all over the country. What's unique in Arlington, is the fact that the ownership of the Texas Rangers has a stake in it.

Team owners now have a vested interest in keeping their facilities vibrant all year long — even when games aren't going on, said Joe Favorito, a sports media consultant and professor at Columbia University.

"If you factor into a growing area like gambling, where elaborate spaces in stadia can even be used when teams are away for fan engagement, these type of investments are going to become more vibrant, and lucrative as joint ventures," he said.

According to Cordish, it's not only good business but it helps the overall franchise value and puts more fans in the stands.

"They are making their fans happier. When you do that it increases the value of the experience and the value of the team," he said.

Leibman said the added revenue will help the Rangers be able to fund better, quality players on the field.

"There's only so much you can generate from ticket sales and TV revenue – this is just an added revenue source," he said.

The project's owners are also hoping Texas Live helps put Arlington on the map as a tourist destination by providing a Loews hotel and amenities for a family friendly trip.

More than 2,000 construction workers were hired to build the entertainment center and it is expected to create more than 1,000 permanent jobs. The project is expected to draw an additional 3 million visitors per year to the city of Arlington, which already has 14 million annual visitors.

"You are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of new revenue and jobs," said Cordish.

— CNBC's Nick Wells contributed to this article.