LA Angels agree to cancel stadium sale

The Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team has agreed to a request from Anaheim City Council to cancel a deal to sell Angel Stadium.

Last week, the council voted to void an agreement to sell the stadium amid a public investigation into the transaction. It came after Mayor of Anaheim Harry Sidhu resigned from his role after it had emerged that the $320m (£253m/€297m) sale of the venue had been put on hold while an investigation was carried out.

Court documents cited by the Los Angeles Times newspaper claim that Sidhu is accused of soliciting a donation of approximately $1m to his re-election campaign as the City of Anaheim discussed the sale of the stadium and surrounding land to SRB Management, the company of Angels owner Arte Moreno. It has since transpired that the original $320m comprised only $150m in cash, while plans for affordable housing were cut considerably.

In a statement released by spokesperson Marie Garvey on Friday, the Angels explained the team’s decision to agree to the cancellation of the stadium sale.

“For almost a decade now, Angels Baseball has been working with the city to be able to continue to deliver a high-quality fan experience at Angel Stadium and create certainty on the team’s future in Anaheim,” the statement said.

“There has been a lot of misinformation and falsehoods stated throughout this process and we want to be clear: we negotiated in good faith with all elected officials and City staff and created a fair deal that was good for Anaheim and Angels Baseball.

“Given that the City Council unanimously voted to cancel the stadium land agreement, we believe it is the best interest of our fans, Angels Baseball, and the community to accept the City’s cancellation. Now we will continue our focus on our fans and the baseball season.”

A lease for the Angels to continue playing at Angel Stadium will run until 2029, with three three-year extensions until 2038.

The Angels have played in Anaheim since 1966. The City of Anaheim built what is today Angel Stadium of Anaheim in 1966 and has owned it since.

The sale would have ended 50-plus years of city stadium ownership and put any future maintenance, renovation or stadium construction costs solely in the hands of SRB Management. The plan, which would have kept the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050, also called for a renovated Angel Stadium, or a new 45,000-seat stadium.

Following the collapse of the stadium sale, the City of Long Beach last week restarted its efforts to attract the Angels to a potential new waterfront ballpark. Prior to striking the now-doomed deal with Anaheim, the Angels had weighed up the possibility of a new stadium in Long Beach, which has resurrected its courtship of the team.

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