Angels owner says team will stay through 2029, was totally pwned by Anaheim mayor

This was hinted at last September, but Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has officially thrown in the towel on using his opt-out clause on his lease at Anaheim Stadium, telling reporters that his team will remain there at least through 2029:

”It’s going to take some time to get ourselves prepared to see which direction we’re going to go,” Moreno said of the possibility of building a new ballpark. ”We have flexibility, but acquiring land and getting a proper partner and getting prepared in California is a three-, four-year process.”

This can only be seen as a major victory for Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (and his constituents), who blocked attempts by Moreno to threaten his way into a major stadium renovation subsidy. The timetable of events, you will recall: The Anaheim council gifted Moreno with a 2019 opt-out for no damn reason, then the owner demanded a whole bunch of free land to compensate for him doing renovations on his own behalf, then Tait conducted an appraisal that pointed out that the land was worth nearly $100 million more than the renovations, then Moreno threatened to move to an air base in Tustin, then nobody in Tustin thought that was a good idea, then Moreno slunk back to Anaheim.

This is exactly how it should work: If a team waves around move threats, city leaders should say, “Yeah, get back to us when you have a real offer, and maybe we’ll talk.” And then if the owner is just bluffing, you get away without having to pay him $250 million in taxpayer cash.

Not that Anaheim Stadium won’t ever need renovations (though recall that it just had renovations 20 years ago, which isn’t a lifetime no matter what some other teams may think). But now both Moreno and Anaheim can sit down and figure out what it makes sense for each side to spend on them, if anything, without worrying about the pretend threat that the owner is going to move to an invisible stadium elsewhere in SoCal or move out of the nation’s second-biggest media market entirely. All of which could have been the case all along if the council hadn’t been daft enough to hand out that lease opt-out clause, but at least victory has been grasped from the jaws of defeat for once.


8 comments on “Angels owner says team will stay through 2029, was totally pwned by Anaheim mayor

  1. Yes, local politicians. Take your lesson from Tom Tait. Just become America’s second-largest media market and you’ll have all the leverage you need in stadium negotiations.

    • You can have leverage in smaller media markets, too, so long as there’s nowhere bigger that’s offering to take the team away — which isn’t always the case, but is 80-90% of the time. While it certainly helps that Tait is mayor of Anaheim and not Buffalo, the lesson to take from this is “calling team owners’ bluffs isn’t a bad first negotiating step.”

    • In this case, the Angels being in the second largest media market has nothing to do with anything. The owner’s threat was to move from a city within that market to another city within that market.

      • Which was an empty threat since there is not a single city within L.A. or O. C. County that is willing to gift land or pay for a stadium.

  2. Regarding:
    ”We have flexibility, but acquiring land and getting a proper partner and getting prepared in California is a three-, four-year process.”
    If a proper partner is needed it will be MLB or front office execs that don’t do stupid player contracts such as Josh Hamilton’s and Albert Pujols’.

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