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Angels casually threaten move during lease negotiations

Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimIt was a little unexpected: a rep for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno said the team has the resources to move to another city, as the Anaheim City Council debate changes to the Angel Stadium lease.

Charles Black was pretty blunt about the prospect of the Angels looking for a new home. It’s no secret that Moreno has cast an eye to other cities in the region, particularly downtown Los Angeles, as a new home for the Angels in the past few years. But with discussions on a lease extension only in the beginning phases, it is a little shocking to bring up the prospect of a move. From the Los Angeles Times:

“The owner of the Angels has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium,” said city consultant Charles Black, president of CB Urban Development in San Diego.

Black also told the council the Angels could move to Irvine, Irwindale or “at least half a dozen potential sites” in downtown Los Angeles.

After the meeting, Black said Moreno had not mentioned specific alternative sites in the talks with Anaheim.

The irony is that Moreno doesn’t appear to want to move the franchise and indeed is seeking development rights to the land surrounding Angel Stadium in exchange for financing some $130-$150 million in ballpark improvements. The City Council voted 4-1 to move forward to lease negotiations that would extend an opt-out from 2016 to 2019 and give the Angels the ability to drop “of Anaheim” from the team name. The Angels are also seeking a lease extension through 2036 (and potentially through 2057) in exchange for the parking-lot development rights. Developing the area around the ballpark — which could also affect fans attending Honda Center games — has been a goal of the city for years now. So, given that Moreno is laying out what could be a very beneficial development plan for the city, it seems a little odd Black is invoking the specter of a move elsewhere in the Los Angeles market.


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