Angels owner Arte Moreno has canceled plans to sell the MLB franchise, the team announced today, saying Moreno will continue as team owner through the 2023 season and beyond.
“During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience. This offseason we committed to a franchise record player payroll and still want to accomplish our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to our fans. We are excited about this next chapter of Angels Baseball,” said Angels owner Arte Moreno in a press release issued today.
“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,” said Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred.
“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 crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players, and our employees,” continued Moreno in the statement.
Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken issued the following statement in response to the announcement:
“This is certainly an issue fans and residents are following closely. But ultimately this is a decision for the Moreno family. As mayor, I respect the decision and look forward to a great upcoming season and many years of baseball ahead in Anaheim.”
The announcement is the latest wrinkle in the team’s saga over the last few years, It again raises the question of whether Moreno and Anaheim can come to a sale or lease agreement that will activate the economic potential of the 54-acre stadium site, which is owned by the city but controlled by Moreno under a long-term lease.
In August of 2022, Moreno announced he would explore a sale of the team, which has been playing in Anaheim since 1966. That announcement followed a decision by the Anaheim City Council to rescind the agreement under which a Moreno-led partnership would buy the stadium site and fully shoulder the costs of either renovating the existing stadium (the fourth oldest in the MLB) or building a new one. The sale agreement also kept the team in Anaheim for 30 years.
Moreno had unveiled plans for an ambitious re-development of the site that included hotels, office space, retail and entertainment, housing, and public park space – a plan that would have created thousands of jobs and generated billions in tax revenue.
The council rescinded the sale after it became public the FBI was conducting a corruption probe focused on the negotiations that produced the agreement. The probe led to the resignation of Mayor Harry Sidhu, whom the FBI alleges could have passed confidential information to the Angels during the negotiations, with the alleged expectation the Angels would support his re-election with a $1 to $2 million independent expenditure campaign. Historically, the Angels have not engaged heavily in IE campaigns.
Sidhu denies the allegations, and the FBI still has filed no charges.
The city and the Angels are also embroiled in a disagreement over who is responsible, under the current lease agreement, for millions in stadium repairs.
Further complicating matters, the city council commissioned a wide-ranging “audit” of city contracting as it relates to campaign donors and policy advocacy. During the political chaos following the revelation of the FBI investigation, the council approved spending hundreds of thousands on the investigation.