During his acceptance speech for the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation’s Lifetime Award on Thursday night at Ridglea Country Club, Texas Rangers co-chairman and majority owner Bob Simpson said the team would look into selling the naming rights for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Simpson spoke about the owners’ long-term vision for the organization, and how they want the Rangers to become a perennial power in baseball. In order to do that, the team is looking to increase its payroll into the $140-150 million range by 2015, when their new $3-billion TV contract kicks in.
To bridge that gap, Simpson said the owners are prepared to invest $100 million with $60 million going towards payroll and baseball operations. On top of that, the team needs to increase revenues by 40 percent across the board over the next four years.
That includes raising ticket prices and sponsorship sales. They would also like to have 25,000 season ticket sales.
“Our goal is for the Rangers to be the hottest ticket in town,” Simpson said.
And another way to generate revenues, Simpson said, would be to sell the naming rights to the stadium.
When the stadium opened in 1994, the original name was The Ballpark in Arlington. From May 7, 2004 through March 18, 2007, it was called Ameriquest Field in Arlington before becoming Rangers Ballpark in Arlington prior to the 2007 season.
Other notable items from Simpson's speech included:
* Simpson saying the Rangers spent $20 million this past season on the amateur draft and international signings – the most in franchise history.
* Simpson reiterated that he’ll never pick a baseball player, but he’ll surround himself with the best guys in the industry at doing that. He pointed to the free agent signing of Adrian Beltre last winter, saying: “We know quality costs, and I’m all for it. Wow, what a nice decision by Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan on that one.”
* Simpson doesn’t believe the team will have issues bouncing back from the Game 6 and 7 losses in the World Series. “You mourn it for a little bit, I did for two or three days, and then dust yourself off,” Simpson said. “We don’t want to be just a one-time winner.”
-- Drew Davison