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Could Disney become part of Angels ballpark discussions?

Anaheim Stadium

With a potential resolution of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ballpark situation happening in 2015, we could see some big regional players become part of the discussions.

That’s the premise from Jonathan Lansner from the OC Register, who plumbs into the depths of Anaheim politics to set the scene for some potentially huge decisions. The Angels have talked with other cities, including Tustin, about a new ballpark as a replacement for Angel Stadium. Team ownership have also pitched a lease with Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots where the team would pay for ballpark upgrades in exchange for area development rights. The current lease gives the Angels an out clause between 2016 and 2019 — and if a new ballpark is to open in that time frame, this would be the year to begin planning.

But there are some mitigating circumstances here. Plots of land like the 150 acres hosting the ballpark and parking lots are not easy to come by in Anaheim; a city study pegged the value at $250 million. (The Angels, predictably, say the value is less.) The Angel Stadium land is just three miles from Disneyland, and things are pretty tight between Disney and Anaheim. And between Disney and the Angels: Disney, of course, once owned the team and engineered a major makeover of Angel Stadium in that time. Lansner throws out the following scenario:

[Disney] has some modest-size parcels in and around California Adventure, which would allow it to add some significant new attractions at that park in coming years. But I’m willing to bet that before this decade’s out, Disney will seriously ponder a third admission gate in Anaheim.

That’s pure speculation since there seems to be no evidence that such a major expansion is on any drawing board within the Disney empire. But a third Disneyland gate – no matter what shape or theme it might take – would provide far more economic oomph to the city (and region) than any ballpark could.

Face it, Disney is a rare company with a vision that extends well beyond the next 90 days. If the company builds a third gate – an endeavor that would take perhaps half a decade or more – the Imagineers must figure out how to keep the two older parks running seamlessly while building another set of attractions nearby.

It is an intriguing thought. In a way, everyone wins: the Angels get a new ballpark in Tustin, Tustin gets a new ballpark on some unused land, Anaheim gets a financial boost from a new theme park, and Disney gets some badly needed land for theme-park expansion. And taxpayers receive revenue from development.

Angel Stadium opened April 19, 1966 as Anaheim Stadium, as shown in the promo photo above.

RELATED STORIES: Angels end Anaheim talks; Tustin taking up ballpark talk; Critic: Angel Stadium economic impact based on faulty data; City-commissioned appraisal of of Angel Stadium to be released; No public money for new Angels ballpark: Tustin mayor; Moreno: Angels committed to Anaheim, but checking out alternatives; Angels lease negotiations hinge on value of land surrounding ballparkAngels casually threaten move during lease negotiations

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