Photo / Dickies Arena, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
In January 2020, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will open the chutes in the new Dickies Arena in the southwest corner of the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The arena, echoing closely the design of the center’s iconic Art Deco tower, signifies its status as a complement to the beloved 1936 coliseum with two Deco-style towers of its own, which should make the boots-and-jeans crowd feel right at home in the new venue.
The $540 million project, including parking, infrastructure and roads, is set to become a showplace in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. Its state-of-the-art facilities and size will give the city a competitive advantage in bidding on events, rivaling, for example, the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The arena will host events of all kinds, from concerts to sports games to graduation ceremonies, as well as being the home of the Fort Worth Stock Show’s rodeo performances. The 2020-2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships and the first and second rounds of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships are booked already.
The arena and support areas will encompass nearly 716,000 square feet. Concerts can seat up to 14,000; basketball, 13,300; family shows and hockey, 12,200; and rodeo and equestrian shows, 9,300.
Rodeo fans can look forward to premium amenities, with 50 percent more dirt-box seating — the seats closest to the center — than at the Will Rogers center, which will continue as an equestrian venue, and club seating with suites. Designed by David M. Schwarz Architects, the firm responsible for the limestone-clad Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance Hall and its pair of 48-foot trumpeting angels in downtown Fort Worth, the arena will include two entertainment clubs, two party suites, 36 other suites and 32 loge boxes. There will be 75 concession stands in all.
The parking garage will offer 2,200 spaces on six levels, with another 5,000-plus spaces outside. A sales center is being completed on the top floor of the garage, where models of rodeo boxes and other arena seating will be displayed. The family owned, Fort Worth–based Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company, a longtime sponsor of the stock show, has won naming rights to the new arena, which will boast the latest in fan entertainment and communication technology and rigging that accommodates the demands of sophisticated productions.
A landscaped plaza will offer superb views of the Will Rogers grounds and the Fort Worth skyline. Underground is a multipurpose event and equine warm-up building that can be viewed from a pavilion on the above-ground, 3-acre plaza.
The arena is a unique partnership between the city of Fort Worth, which will own it, and the private sector, led by the nonprofit Event Facilities Fort Worth, whose chairman of the board is Edward P. Bass. The arena will be financially self-sufficient: Half the cost and any overages are being provided by a philanthropic group of foundations, individuals and organizations, while public funding, capped at $225 million, will come from revenue generated by ticket sales, parking, tourism and more. —Jan Batts
Post sponsored by Mary Carolyn Gatzke of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty is a luxury brokerage headquartered in North Texas. Its award-winning agents, serving clients from offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Southlake, Lakewood, Uptown, The North and The Ballpark, achieved a record-breaking sales volume of $3.2 billion in 2016. Independently owned and operated by president and CEO Robbie Briggs, the firm specializes in the purchase and sale of significant properties, from historic and contemporary to waterfront, ranch and land. The company’s deep-rooted connections, superior marketing resources and global strategies, as part of the $95 billion Sotheby’s International Realty network, bring the extraordinary to every client.