ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Rangers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against former owner Tom Hicks, claiming a breach of contract involving the use agreement of the ballpark parking lots.
Hicks controls all 11,679 parking spaces surrounding the ballpark, by direct ownership or through a leasehold with the city of Arlington.
The 13-lots surrounding the Ballpark in Arlington weren’t included in the sale of the stadium last summer. Although the Rangers are responsible for the maintenance, operation and upkeep of the nearly 12,000 spots, no lease agreement exists between the parties. The Rangers do, however, divide some of the profits generated from the lots to Hicks’ group, BRE.
Hicks is now looking to renegotiate the exisiting deal. Discussions between both groups are still ongoing, but a $3.5 million dollar a year lease was proposed.
In the recent bankruptcy deal with new team owners Rangers Ballpark Express, the ownership group headed by Nolan Ryan, Hicks maintained control of the ballpark’s parking lots through his company Ballpark Real Estate, L.P. The Texas Rangers are now suing Hicks, calling his plan to raise parking rates “price gouging” and his actions “despicable.”
According to BRE, the Rangers do not currently lease the lots at the Ballpark. But Hicks says it’s now time to strike a deal. The Rangers, worried that Hicks will charge too high a price, sued BRE and asked for a temporary restraining order, allowing them to keep existing parking prices.
“Ticket prices are high enough; it’s high everywhere you go – even at Cowboys Stadium, just to park your car,” fan Paul Middleton said.
“The Rangers have known since July 2010 that in order to control all parking issues, the club would have to purchase the land or come to a new agreement with Ballpark Real Estate,” a statement from the ownership group read. “We are confident this will be resolved soon.”
Right now, it costs $10 to park at the ballpark, $5 for a Friday game.
Under the TRO, the Rangers requested the following from BRE: “Prohibiting BRE from interfering with fans arriving at a Texas Rangers baseball game by way of charging them more than $10 for parking on BRE property or more than $5 for parking on all Friday home games.”
“Mr. Hicks and Ballpark Real Estate guarantee to provide parking for Texas Rangers fans with absolutely no disruptions while BRE and Rangers Express finalize a new deal on the use of property owned by BRE,” read a BRE statement.
For fans, it’s the uncertainty that has them wondering if this could possibly affect their bottom line and their ability to afford to see a game in person.
“Well, you plan ahead you think you need this much money to take the family and have a good time then if they do that – to go from $10 to $25, yeah – it’s a big difference,” said Rangers fan Frank Munoz.
CBSDFW.com reported on this impending situation on March 29th. Read the article here.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said prices would double. BRE says that is not the case. That information has been removed.