Randy Ford, owner of Arlington’s J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill, was on the edge of his couch Oct. 23.
The Texas Rangers were just a few outs away from making their first World Series appearance since 2011. A strikeout, a pop out and a ground out were about to decide his team’s championship fate.
The inning also was bound to determine how Ford’s next couple days and weeks would unfold. Would it be business as usual or would he — along with the cities of Arlington and Fort Worth — have to prepare for something much bigger?
With Globe Life Field, the Rangers’ home ballpark, right in the middle of Arlington’s entertainment district, businesses in the city and in Fort Worth stand to benefit from a World Series appearance by the Rangers, Ford said.
When the ninth inning ended, he got up from his couch, took it all in for a second, then immediately started preparations for a busy but profitable next few weeks.
“This coming Friday night, we’re talking about a difference of — minimum — $5,000 to $6,000 on top of what we normally end up doing on a Friday night,” Ford said.
He’s not alone in his projections, according to the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
Downtown Arlington’s Grease Monkey is prepping for maximum capacity. Hurtado Barbecue, which has locations in Fort Worth and Arlington as well as inside Globe Life Field, is preparing to serve thousands, on thousands of customers in the next week, Michael Jacobson, president and CEO of the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce said.
At J. Gilligan’s, Ford has already set up a backup grill and a few extra fryers. He’s expecting about 600 people to take advantage of the shuttle his business operates on Rangers and Cowboys game days.
Revenue for the Rangers’ World Series games may reach the amount J. Gilligan’s brings in for a regular-season Cowboys game, Ford said.
The difference? If the series goes seven games, Globe Life Field would host four games in a nine-day span. That takes a lot of prep, Ford said.
Keeping fans in Arlington
The World Series is baseball’s biggest event, but this year, it’s not just the teams on the field that are vying for national recognition.
As the series unfolds, Arlington and Fort Worth will compete to lure tourists and their dollars.
“It’s an absolute cooperative effort on all the cities in the region,” said Jacobson. “But at the same time, Arlington is going to be looking after Arlington. How do we make sure we benefit from everything going on?”
Other hotels in the area, such as the Sheraton Arlington and the Courtyard by Marriott, have increased prices. Staying at the Sheraton on Oct. 27, the night of Game 1, will cost $348, while a night at Courtyard will cost $455.
Arlington restaurants and bars are ready to rake in profits, too, Jacobson said.
“With food and drink, we have the assets where we can keep people here in Arlington,” Jacobson said. “Keeping them entertained, keeping them fed and housing them.”
The goal is for establishments like J. Gilligan’s, Grease Monkey and Texas Live! to keep people in Arlington after the games end, he said.
For Ford, that means ordering a few more kegs.
“Before or after a ballgame, and especially after a few beers, people just want something to eat at a reasonable price,” Ford said.
‘They need to support the demand’
Fort Worth sits in a solid position, as well, Visit Fort Worth CEO Bob Jameson said. The city doesn’t have to actually host the games to benefit.
Fort Worth has contracted 3,000 hotel room nights to the MLB, and it could be more as the series plays on, Jameson said.
“Arlington is getting all sorts of new hotel inventory, but they don’t have all that yet,” Jameson said. “They need to support the demand that will come with these games.”
Jameson is welcoming anyone who can’t find a hotel room in Arlington or who doesn’t want to travel all the way from Dallas to Globe Life Field, to stay in Fort Worth.
So are the city’s hotels, he said.
Prices for hotel rooms in downtown Fort Worth are significantly less than those near Globe Life Field. A night at the Hilton Fort Worth on Oct. 27 will cost $166, while staying at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel will cost $273.
Other Fort Worth businesses, such as Buffalo Bros and HopFusion Ale Works, are brewing up advertising to position themselves as watch-party locations for home and away games. Panther Island Brewing will even have Rangers-themed cans and shirts available.
“It’s the World Series. It’s just a remarkable event for our community and one that will bring a lot of people our way,” Jameson said.
‘Together, We Succeed’
If the series goes seven games, that means at least 161,200 people will be inArlington’s entertainment district over a nine-day stretch. And that’s just the ticket holders; thousands of other revelers are likely to take advantage of the district during the games.
While neither Arlington nor Fort Worth has estimates for the economic impact this year’s World Series will bring to the region, both Jacobson and Jameson know it can’t be understated.
And they both know the whole region will benefit.
“You know, our tagline over here is ‘Together, We Succeed,’” Jacobson said of the Arlington chamber’s mantra. “The Rangers are part of the family, and we’re thrilled to see the family do well. We all want to be a part of it, the energy is electric.”
Fort Worth certainly wants to be a part of it, too, Jameson said.
“We’re all grateful to Arlington, AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Field,” Jameson said. “It allows us all to enjoy the benefits of the entertainment district — and a Rangers World Series.”
Matthew Sgroi is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.