Angels Baseball announced today that owner Arte Moreno is exploring selling the team, which he has owned for 20 years.
The announcement was posted earlier today on the Angels Twitter account:
The announcement comes on the heels of the implosion of the agreement with the city by Moreno-led SRB Management to buy the stadium site for $320 million and commit to keeping the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050. Under the agreement, SRB would have been financially responsible building a new stadium or renovating the existing one.
That agreement was weeks away from final approval by the city council when news broke that the FBI had secured a search warrant on Mayor Harry Sidhu as part of a probe into alleged corruption in how the agreement was negotiated. Sidhu subsequently resigned and the city council voted to cancel the agreement. No charges have been filed against Sidhu.
In the meantime, the team is ooperation on the 1996 lease, which permits to team to play in Angel Stadium – the fourth oldest in the MLB – through 2029.
Moreno bought the Angels for $184 million from Disney in 2003, the year after they won their first and only World Series championship. Moreno initially scored pints with the public for moves such as cutting the price of beer sold in the stadium, but later sparked a battle with the city and fans by changing the name from Anaheim Angels – which the team had adopted in 1996 after decades as the California Angels – to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Moreno took advantage of loosely drafted language from the 1996 lease agreement with the city.
The Angels franchise is now estimated to be worth $2 billion.
Moreno is a Vietnam War veteran who amassed a huge fortune in the outdoor advertising industry.
Any efforts to negotiate a new agreement between the team and the city will certainly be on hold until and if Moreno sells the team to a new owner.
Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Trevor O’Neil expressed confidence the team would remain a part of Anaheim’s community fabric for years to come.
“Baseball has been a part of Anaheim‘s identity and culture for over 50 years. Generations of Angels fans have enjoyed America’s national pastime right here in our great city. We expect that tradition to continue with a new team owner,” said O’Neil.