Finance

Moreno takes Angels off the market, citing ‘unfinished business’

The Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team has announced that the Moreno family is ending an exploratory process to sell the franchise and will continue ownership beyond the current season.

The Angels confirmed in August that Arte Moreno was considering selling the team after 20 seasons, but the 76-year-old is now set to stay on as owner.

In a statement released yesterday (Monday), Moreno said that he has “unfinished business” with the Angels and expressed a wish to have a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience.

Moreno said: “We are grateful to Galatioto Sports Partners for their outstanding efforts throughout the process that allowed us to meet with a number of highly qualified individuals and groups who expressed strong interest in the club. 

“However, as discussions advanced and began to crystallise, we realised our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players, and our employees.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred added: “Despite strong buyer interest in the Angels, Arte Moreno’s love of the game is most important to him. I am very pleased that the Moreno family has decided to continue owning the team.”

The announcement comes with the team’s future at Angel Stadium still up in the air. The Angels have a deal to continue playing at the stadium until 2029, with three three-year extensions also running until 2038.

The Angels have played in Anaheim since 1966, when Angel Stadium opened. The City of Anaheim has owned the stadium ever since.

In May last year, the Angels agreed to a request from Anaheim City Council to cancel a deal to sell the stadium amid a public investigation into the transaction. Mayor of Anaheim Harry Sidhu resigned from his role after it had emerged that the $320m (£260m/€295m) sale of the venue had been put on hold while an investigation was carried out.

Court documents cited by the Los Angeles Times newspaper claimed that Sidhu was 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 Moreno. It transpired that the original $320m comprised only $150m in cash, while plans for affordable housing were cut considerably.

In a statement released at the time, the Angels 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.”

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 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.