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$450-Million Arena Coming to Fort Worth

Wednesday, April 26, 2017   (0 Comments)

Ground breaks on Dickies Arena

by Noelle Leavitt Riley | Published: April 26, 2017 | Venues Today

The city of Fort Worth, Texas, is prepped and ready to watch the construction of a new $450-million arena slated to open in November 2019. Ground broke on the project last week.

Workwear clothing company Dickies was awarded naming rights for the multipurpose arena for an undisclosed amount of money.

“Dickies, being a Fort Worth company and having that local flavor, was an incredible fit for us,” said Matt Homan, president and general manager of Multipurpose Arena Fort Worth (MAFW), the not-for-profit operating entity of the arena.

Although the dollar amount for the naming rights wasn’t released, the funding for the arena is completely transparent. The city of Fort Worth put $225 million into the project after voters overwhelmingly approved three different user taxes in 2014.

The user fees tax 10 percent of each ticket (approved by 79 percent of voters), a $1 to $2 per day user fee on livestock stalls and pens (approved by 76.9 percent) and a parking fee of $5 per vehicle (72 percent voted yes), according to figures from MAFW.

The remaining $225 million was raised by private funds, Homan said. Due to the way the arena’s funding was compiled, it was vital to have the venue set up as a not-for-profit that will operate the venue’s entities, he added.

“All the dollars we make will go back into facilities,” Homan noted. “It’s an incredibly smart concept that will keep the arena operating in the black and keep the arena operating for many years.”

The arena will seat anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 people, depending on the event, and the 2,200-space parking garage is expected to open later this year — well ahead of the arena. Additionally, the venue will have 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space and will host a projected 120 events a year.

The venue is being built next to the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, which will remain functioning when Dickies Arena opens and will continue to serve the equestrian community as a “complement to the new arena,” states the venue’s website.

Stock shows and rodeos traditionally have been held at the coliseum, but that will change when Dickies Arena opens.

Venue officials already have booked some big players for years ahead.

On April 18, the arena announced that Dickies Arena will host the 2022 NCAA basketball tournaments and the first and second rounds in the NCAA women’s gymnastics.

“This is another testament to the fantastic partnership that TSU (Texas Christian University) has with the city of Fort Worth,” TSU Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “Now with the new Dickies Arena coming to fruition, Fort Worth is an incredibly attractive host site for many NCAA Championships, which will certainly benefit TCU student-athletes, coaches and fans.”

Homan expressed excitement about the NCAA deals coming to the venue, and he highlighted that the arena’s bells and whistles will not only accommodate sports teams, but also large concerts.

Although they haven’t booked a headlining act for when the venue opens, they certainly have been in talks with top artists, he said.

“Everything has an intimate feel, from high end finishes to stellar acoustics,” Homan said. “I think the other key is this is going to be one of the nicest arenas in the U.S.”

Rather than building a glass arena, the architects — David Schwarz is the design architect and HKS is the architect of record — and MAFW went with a more colonial feel.

“It sits in the center of the city, and they didn’t want to build a glass box,” Homan said.

Dickies expressed great enthusiasm about having the company’s name on the building.

“We were established in Fort Worth in 1922 as a family-run company and grew to become the world’s leading performance work wear brand from right here in this city,” Dickies CEO Philip Williamson said in a statement. “Today you can find Dickies in more than 100 countries internationally, and yet we are committed to maintaining our headquarters in Fort Worth, just south of downtown. We’re proud that Dickies Arena will redefine what local entertainment means to our neighbors in Fort Worth.”