© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
03/19/07 5:50 PM ET
It's now Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Team works out deal with Ameriquest to get its 'brand back'
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Welcome back to the Ballpark in Arlington.
It is now Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The bell is gone.
The Rangers announced on Monday that they are taking their brand back and combining it with the former name of the 13-year-old facility on Ballpark Way. Effective immediately: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Ameriquest Field in Arlington is no more.
"I feel great," Rangers owner Tom Hicks said. "We're getting our brand back. Based on our research with our fans, the prevailing feeling is that our ballpark is our biggest asset and we needed to have our brand on it."
Three years ago, the Rangers negotiated a 30-year, $75 million agreement with Ameriquest Mortgage Company. Since then, Ameriquest has been caught up in a number of difficulties, including layoffs, outlet closings and lawsuits.
But club president Jeff Cogen, who negotiated the end to the agreement, said the Rangers were more concerned about getting their name back on the ballpark rather than what was happening with Ameriquest.
"It's all about the brand," Cogen said.
The Rangers approached Ameriquest one year ago about ending the agreement. Ameriquest was resistant at first but called back four months ago to discuss the possibility. An agreement was reached Friday.
The Rangers lose $2.5 million per year from the naming rights but get back a number of advertising outlets at the ballpark that were included in the Ameriquest deal.
Most important, the Rangers are able to put their name back on their ballpark in time to be ready for major changes that are coming to the neighborhood.
The Dallas Cowboys are building a new stadium just to the southwest of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington that is expected to be open in 2009. Glorypark, a major retail and residential development between the two facilities, is also on the way, as well as major improvements to the surrounding highway and street infrastructure.
"Things change," Hicks said. "Look what's happened in the past four years. The Cowboys are building the finest football facility in the world and we have a huge development coming of Glorypark. The perception of the value of your brand has changed. Look at our partners, the Angels."
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim renamed their facility Angel Stadium in 2003 after a seven-year run as Edison International Field of Anaheim. The Rangers reached their deal with Ameriquest on May 7, 2004.
"At the time, the Rangers needed a shot in the arm," Cogen said. "We needed to invest in payroll and we did. But things have changed. We have our fan base back to what it was, we have created additional streams of revenue and we like the makeup of our ballclub.
"We think the fans will embrace this change."
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, built at a cost of $191 million, was opened in 1994. The Rangers hosted the 1995 All-Star Game there and division playoff series in 1996 and 1998-99. The official capacity is 48,911.
That was with the 15-foot bell that was installed in left field as part of the agreement with Ameriquest and rang every time a Rangers player hit a home run. The bell is coming out.
There will be no 15-foot bell at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.