Tourism is a major driver of Arlington’s economy, and as the World Series once again puts the city on the national stage, city leaders expect developers to be even more willing to invest in the area and capitalize on the entertainment district’s growing market.
The first two games of the series brought nearly 85,000 people to Globe Life Field alone, with 42,472 people in attendance for Game 1 and 42,500 for Game 2 – while seating capacity is listed at 40,500, general admission tickets can increase attendance. That doesn’t include those who flocked to the city to watch the game at venues like Texas Live! to see! where an estimated 10,000 fans were in attendance on both Friday and Saturday.
The visitors bureau projected that about 35% or more of World Series fans would come from outside the region, based on data from location analytics company Placer.ai.
“There is a lot of interest in building additional hotels in the district,” said Bruce Payne, the city’s economic development director. “A lot of people are looking at the success of this particular World Series and having to make decisions to take advantage of the evolving market given what has been done so far.”
According to the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the city’s entertainment district has “received billions of dollars in investments in recent years, with more on the way, establishing the district as a world-class sports and entertainment destination.”
And that investment has paid off, Payne said.
“The fact that the entertainment district is now generating more revenue is getting people’s attention and there’s a growing interest in having more events,” Payne said, pointing to the developments that are brightening up the district.
Location, location, location
In addition to the new Globe Life Field and Texas Live! the Texas Rangers! 200,000 square foot entertainment complex – including the upscale hotel resort Live! by Loews – the entertainment district is home to the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, Choctaw Stadium, the Esports Stadium and Expo Center, and the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame.
There are no plans to slow down.
“Development around the Entertainment District is an ongoing process, and we are always looking to improve and provide people with more hotel rooms, better accommodations and more ways to enjoy things here in Arlington,” said Arlington Mayor Jim Ross.
Upcoming developments include the National Medal of Honor Museum and One Rangers Way – a high-end residential project that will be within walking distance of AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Field and Choctaw Stadium.
Additionally, the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will have a skybridge with Live! be connected. by Loews will offer a total of 1,188 guest rooms and 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.
Such developments will help generate revenue that will allow the city to reinvest in other parts of the city to provide services to the public, Payne said.
“With these developments, Arlington will attract a whole new dimension of tourism,” Payne said. “It all increases the opportunities for us to host larger events and I expect we will see proposals for other hotels over time as it is proving to be a really great location with great interest in development.”
The rise in tourism suggests it is paying off
In the ’60s and ’70s, newcomers like Turnpike Stadium (later called Arlington Stadium), the Texas Rangers and Six Flags Over Texas began drawing tourists to the city, creating a momentum that hasn’t slowed.
Before Globe Life Field opened in 2020, the city was already attracting numerous tourists. In 2017, the city received 14.5 million visitors, up from 10 million visitors in 2014, creating an economic impact, according to a 2017 visitor report prepared for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau by Longwoods International, a market research consulting firm of $1.4 billion for the city.
That same year, tourism jobs in the city accounted for 10% of all private jobs in Arlington, and without tourism tax revenue, each household would pay $1,300 more in taxes, according to the visitor report.
In 2022, the city had 15.1 million visitors, an increase of 7.8% compared to the previous year. The total spending by these visitors was a whopping $2.6 billion.
Tourism helps increase the city’s sales tax revenue, which has also seen significant growth. Estimated sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2023 is $189.2 million. In fiscal year 2022, the city generated about $168 million in sales tax revenue, up from about $150 million in the previous fiscal year.
“It is important for community residents to understand the tremendous impact tourism can have – it brings other people’s money into your community, which increases tax revenue that can then be put into your city’s services,” the former said Mayor Jeff Williams noted that he supported the 2016 bond to build the new Globe Life Field stadium in part because he saw it as a way to boost tourism.
“The general atmosphere that exists there [in the entertainment district] is the reason the World Series can happen, and the fact that the series is here shows us that we did the right things,” Payne said.