Breaking ground for the future
Family Shows & Hockey ………………..12,200
Horse Shows & Rodeo ……………………….9,300
Cost: Total project cost will be about $450 million, including parking, infrastructure and roads.
Funding sources: A group of private-sector participants (foundations, individuals and organizations) will provide half the cost. Public funding from several dedicated sources will pay the other half. Public source funding is capped at $225 million.
Completion date: Expected in late 2019
Parking: A parking garage with 2,200 spaces on six levels is expected to open in late 2017.
Coliseum: The nearby Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, part of the Will Rogers Memorial Center designed by architect Wyatt C. Hedrick that opened in 1936, will continue to serve as a major equestrian venue.
Architect: HKS, architect of record
Contractor: The Beck Group, lead contractor
By Brett Hoffman
FWBP Senior Writer
Fort Worth’s cowboys and culture heritage took another step into the future as officials broke ground April 18 on a new arena that will serve as the host of the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo and an array of other events.
The Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., renowned Fort Worth-based manufacturer of Dickies work clothing and related products, has secured the naming rights for the 14,000-seat multipurpose arena in the Cultural District. It will be called Dickies Arena.
Less than an hour after the surprise naming rights announcement, the operating entity Multipurpose Arena Fort Worth (MAFW) broke the news that Dickies Arena will host first- and second-round games of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Fort Worth has not hosted the tournament’s games since 1970.
In addition, Fort Worth will be the host city for four years for NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, beginning in 2019. The event will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center for the first year and will move to Dickies Arena in 2020 for the remaining years.
The new facility is going up at the corner of Harley Avenue and Gendy Street and is scheduled to open in about 2 ½ years. It is being built not only to serve the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo but also to host concerts, sporting events and community events year round.
MAFW, the not-for-profit operating entity of Dickies Arena, and the city of Fort Worth hosted the groundbreaking event. Speakers included Ed Bass, chairman of the board of MAFW and the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Philip Williamson, chairman and CEO of Williamson-Dickie.
The partnership includes branding on the exterior of the arena, at entrances and inside and promotional opportunities such as outfitting arena staff in Dickies workwear.
“We were established in Fort Worth in 1922 as a family-run company and grew to become the world’s leading performance workwear brand from right here in this city,” Williamson said. “We’re proud that Dickies Arena will redefine what local entertainment means to our neighbors in Fort Worth.”
Bass said he was pleased that Dickies will have the naming rights.
“We’re particularly pleased that we have a Fort Worth company, a hometown company, a company founded 95 years ago that’s been actively involved in the Stock Show in particular,” Bass said. “But really, if you look at what people wear, it evolved in the very life of our community with their high quality workwear. We just feel we’re lucky that there’s something that has a strong identity and is such a Fort Worth fit.”
The arena is scheduled to open in November 2019, in time to be used during the 2020 Stock Show and Rodeo. MAFW did not disclose the price the company paid for the naming rights or the length of the contract, other than to say it is “long-term.” In 2005, Bank of Oklahoma paid $11 million over 20 years to the city of Tulsa to name that city’s similar-sized arena BOK Center.
“Fort Worth is known for cowboys and culture and this new arena will promote that,” Price said.
The arena is the result of a public-private partnership bringing together the city, Tarrant County, the state and a group of private-sector participants that includes foundations, individuals and organizations. The arena project was overwhelmingly approved by Fort Worth voters in November 2014.
The construction of a new arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center has been a goal of Fort Worth civic leaders for more than two decades. The late Fort Worth Stock Show board chairman John Justin pushed for a state-of-the-art facility as early as the 1990s.
“This is a product of a long-term vision and it’s been a long time coming,” Bass said. “Everything about this arena will be first class.”
Dickies Arena will bring a wide variety of programming to Fort Worth, including concerts and sporting events, and will be home to the Stock Show’s rodeo. The $450 million project will complement the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, which will continue to serve as a major horse show arena.
Price said the new venue will make Fort Worth far more competitive in securing popular events.
“It will give us a competitive advantage to bid on events,” she said.