Baylor has announced plans to build a new $105M basketball facility on the banks of the Brazos River, "initiated by the largest gift in the university’s history," according to a front-page piece by John Werner of the WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD. A portion of a $100M anonymous gift to the university-wide $1.1B Give Light campaign "will go toward the basketball facility and another portion toward academics." Baylor did not specify how the major donation will be divided, but AD Mack Rhoades said that the school still needs to raise $30M "before construction will begin." Werner reports the facility is "being called the Baylor Basketball Pavilion, but that could change if the lead donors decide to remove their anonymity." While the Ferrell Center, basketball's current home, holds 10,400 fans, the new facility will hold 7,000-7,500 in an "effort to create a smaller, louder environment." The pavilion will also include an "'integrated state-of-the-art practice facility' that will include separate locker rooms, practice gyms, team lounges, and office suites as well as shared athletic medicine and athletic performance spaces." The Ferrell Center eventually "will be renovated at a projected cost" of $20M to accommodate Baylor’s volleyball, acrobatics and tumbling teams (WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD, 5/8).
THE LATEST TREND: The Baylor facility news is "part of a tidal wave of athletic construction projects around the Big 12 and the nation." Every school in the Big 12 "has recently finished, is in the midst of, or is planning to break ground on new construction or major renovations of athletic facilities" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/8).
The MLB Rangers and their new Globe Life Field "want in the college football party," and at some point in '19, the club will "get more serious about its plans for using the park as a football stadium, specifically for a bowl game," according to Mac Engel of the Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM. Rangers Exec VP/Business Operations Rob Matwick said that the club is "interested in joining the bowl season" after the venue opens in '20. Matwick said while the team wants to host a bowl game, it also wants to "be respectful of the Cotton Bowl." Matwick: "We would not want to do anything to take away from the Cotton Bowl." Matwick added that the Rangers also have "had discussions with Big 12 teams about potentially playing a game at the new facility." Engel notes until Globe Life Field is open, the Rangers "can't do much more than discuss ideas and propose concepts." Matwick said that a football field at the new ballpark would run with "one end zone situated in left center to center field towards home plate up the first base line," and "temporary bleachers could be installed along that sideline if needed." Matwick estimated that the park would "seat between 35,000 to 40,000 for a football game" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/8).
WHY STOP AT BOWL GAMES? In Dallas, Evan Grant notes once the Rangers open Globe Life Field next year, they will "continue to reach out to events from boat shows to college football games." Matwick said the Rangers designed the ballpark "with football in mind, but you want to make sure when you get from design to reality that everything fits and works as it should." Grant notes there "will be challenges" with football games, including why teams would go to a 35,000-40,000-seat venue when there is a "perfectly good one that seats twice as many across the street" at AT&T Stadium. What may be "more likely on the football front: High school football playoffs, particularly some early-round games." What is "most likely: More baseball." The Rangers have "indicated they will pursue being a site for the World Baseball Classic," perhaps even as early as '21, and an MLB All-Star Game. The team has already "landed three major concerts" for their current venue, Globe Life Park, in Paul McCartney, Jason Aldean and Billy Joel. A 35,000-seat concert venue "puts them in the mix for multiple acts that are too big for arenas" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/8).