Anaheim moves to retain MLB’s Angels

The City of Anaheim has outlined its determination to retain the Los Angeles Angels by proposing a one-year stadium lease extension to allow greater time to strike a long-term deal with the Major League Baseball (MLB) club.

The announcement yesterday (Thursday) came after the Angels opened up the possibility of moving to a new ballpark by opting to exercise a release clause from their lease at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

The Angels made the decision on October 15, the final day before the deadline for activating 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.

If the clause was not exercised, the Angels would have been contractually bound to play at Angel Stadium through the 2029 season. Anaheim’s City Council will now consider a one-year stadium lease extension on Tuesday for the Angels, initiated by Mayor Harry Sidhu following a recent meeting between him and team owner Arte Moreno.

The proposed extension would run through to the end of 2020 and give the city and the team time to negotiate a potential long-term lease that works for both parties. “Last week, I met with Angels owner Arte Moreno,” Sidhu said. “From that meeting, it is clear the team’s priority is to stay in Anaheim, if we can work out a deal that benefits our residents, the city and the team. We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen.”

The proposal would extend the team’s lease at Angel Stadium of Anaheim by 14 months, from a current end date of October 2019. The proposed extension fulfils a pledge Sidhu made before being elected mayor in November.

“I pledged I would make keeping the Angels one of my top priorities,” Sidhu said. “I’m asking my City Council colleagues on Tuesday to consider a one-year extension. This will give us time to find a deal that first benefits our residents as well as the city and the team, with a goal of keeping baseball in Anaheim for another 50 years or more.”

Anaheim has been the team’s home since 1966 and the extension is expected to be approved next week. Details of any potential new lease are expected to come within the year and go before Anaheim’s City Council for approval.

As with November’s 25-plus-year lease extension with NHL ice hockey team the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center, the City said keeping the Angels in Anaheim is central to building on the vision of the Platinum Triangle, the 820-acre site around the stadium and arena.

The Platinum Triangle is seeing more than $1bn (£781.2m/€871.6m) in current and planned investment to add urban-style homes, restaurants, shops and entertainment, as seen around stadiums and arenas in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and across the US.

“We are looking to work with our partners in the Platinum Triangle to keep realising this vision, with all the economic benefits it will bring to our city and residents,” Sidhu added. “There are only 30 Major League Baseball teams in the nation, and being home to one is a huge asset to any city.”

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).

Since 2003, the first season of Moreno’s stewardship, the Angels and New York Yankees are the only MLB teams to sell three million tickets every year.

Image: City of Anaheim