Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Los Angeles Angels have opened up the possibility of moving to a new ballpark after opting to exercise a release clause from their lease at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

The Angels made the announcement yesterday (Tuesday), the final day they could have activated such an option. The move means that while the team will continue to play at Angel Stadium through the 2019 season, they could choose to leave after that unless a new lease deal can be struck with the City of Anaheim over the next year.

If the clause was not exercised, the Angels would have been contractually bound to play at Angel Stadium through the 2029 season. Team spokeswoman Marie Garvey told that the franchise will meet with Anaheim’s new mayor and city council after the November 6 election. “It’s today or 10 years from now,” Garvey said. “That really drove the decision.”

Angel Stadium opened in 1966 and is the fourth-oldest ballpark in MLB behind Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox (1912); Wrigley Field, which houses the Chicago Cubs (1914) and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles (1962).

“As we look to the future, we need the ability to continue to deliver a high-quality fan experience beyond what the original lease allows,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement. “It is important that we look at all our options and how we can best serve our fans now and in the future.”

The Associated Press news agency noted that Angels owner Arte Moreno said last year that he expected the team to stay at their current home for at least another decade, while stating that a move to a new stadium would require at least three years of preparation. In recent years, the Angels have explored building a new ballpark in Los Angeles, Irvine, Carson or Tustin, an Orange County suburb located close to Angel Stadium.

Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, City of Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said: “We look forward to many great years of Angels baseball in Anaheim. We don’t believe there is a better place for the team than in the heart of Orange County’s most exciting city.

“As fun as baseball is in Anaheim, this is a reminder that this is still a business. And we understand that the Angels need to preserve all options available. We welcome talking with the team about the future of baseball in Anaheim.”

Image: The Rambling Man