Long Beach offers to talk about building stadium for Angels on tiny parking lot with no idea how to pay for it

It was only a matter of time after Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno opted out of his Anaheim lease that we were going to start hearing rumors about where he might move the team if he couldn’t get a stadium renovation deal, and now we have one, courtesy of NBC Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Angels of Long Beach? Could Angels be Moving to the LBC?

Paging Ian Betteridge! But moving on, what’s actually in the article about Long Beach’s stadium plans?

The city of Long Beach publicly stated Monday night that it has approached the Los Angeles Angels to express interest and discuss the opportunity of moving the Major League Baseball team out of Orange County and into downtown Long Beach.

Okay, “expressed interest” just means somebody called Moreno and said, “Hey, let’s talk.” Does Long Beach have an actual site for a stadium, and more important, money to build one?

Long Beach is putting forth an effort to create a downtown waterfront development plan and exploring the feasibility of a downtown sports venue on the Convention Center parking lot, according to a city of Long Beach news release attributing quotes to Mayor Robert Garcia.

The statement went to say that the city of Long Beach has reached out to the Angels regarding the opportunity but categorized the status as “preliminary” and said discussions were ongoing.

This is getting us nowhere. Hey, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has an article about it too, what does he have to report?

The city has not determined whether a ballpark would be feasible on the site or the best use for it, let alone whether taxpayers would contribute to a construction cost that could exceed $700 million and could approach $1 billion.

That would qualify as “preliminary,” all right. Add in that the Long Beach Convention Center parking lot appears to be too small to fit a baseball stadium on, and this thing has more questions than answers:

While it’s not clear what’s in it for Long Beach to make its pursuit of the Angels public — other than getting its name mentioned on the telly — for Moreno this is stadium extortion gold: a new city to use as a threat now that Tustin has told him unequivocally to pound sand. Ideally you’d want an actual offer to use as a threat, but sports venue shakedowns have worked with less.


21 comments on “Long Beach offers to talk about building stadium for Angels on tiny parking lot with no idea how to pay for it

  1. So the plan is to have two buildings which are dark most of the year next to each other as the foundation of a business development plan. Makes sense to me.

    On the positive side, this is a retro move squeezing ballparks into their neighborhoods creating unique features because of geographic limitations rather than HOK manufactured quirks.

    • That parking lot is used for beach access and beach events. There is a beach concert series that is staged just to the right of that hypothetical ballpark.

      I know this because I was there for a convention. I have no idea how busy that convention center is year round. Being in that neighborhood I would be worried that the LA Metro station is a longer walk than most fans would want and would need the inevitable pedestrian bridge (that no one would use).

      • Convention Center Usage – for the period March to May the center looks to be used on 23 dates including a symphonic tribute to George Michael, Shen Yun and the society of vacuum coaters technical convention.

    • Having lived in downtown Long Beach, this would be a terrible site. That parking lot is used for the Grand Prix and Pride (which is one of the biggest in the U.S.) The 710 would be the only major nearby freeway, and there’s nowhere near enough parking to accommodate gameday traffic. If you were to put a stadium anywhere in the city, it would have to be on the north or East side near the 405 or by CSULB. Robert Garcia is an idiot, but even this is breathtakingly stupid by his standards. Making these talks public will only piss off long time stakeholders in the city and lead to nowhere with the Angels.

  2. Can’t imagine the Angels abandoning a successful location in the middle of one of the most populated counties in the US, just to be closer to the beach. No access from the west, since it all ocean. They should ask the Rays how that works. And if they’re dreaming of gorgeous waterfront sunsets during games, they should remember the sun still sets in the west, so the stadium would need to face east, unless batters want the sun in their eyes.

    • I doubt they are planning on abandoning anything (especially a lucrative and wealthy OC fanbase for Long Beach…). It’s all about creating leverage, real or imagined.

      The great thing for Anaheim is that the land under the stadium should actually be much more valuable for some other use than it’s present one. I’d say the city is the party with the leverage here, not Mr. Moreno. Whether they will even attempt to use it is another matter, of course….

    • “No access from the west, since it all ocean.”

      That would be a serious inconvenience for all of the Angels fans who live west of Long Beach.

    • It’s not as if they would move to Downtown LA. Orange County is literally a few miles to the east.

  3. Lots of Clipper fans actually wanted this to be Ballmer’s site for a new arena. If the Angel thing is just a lot of hot air & if MSG really has enough dirt on Inglewood Mayor Butts to thwart the Clipper arena project then I would seriously look at this site for an arena instead of a stadium.

    Long Beach is the 2nd biggest city in metro LA & the waterfront site has worked well for teams like the Giants & Heat. Throw in the blue line train & downtown setting to boot & I have to think it should at least be thrown out there if Inglewood falls apart.

    • The Blue Line only runs to downtown LA via Compton, Watts, and South Central – those are all Dodgers fans – and the only people who ride it are LBC residents commuting to work or a Staples Center event. It would actually be way out of the way for most Angels fans since they live in Orange and Riverside Counties and downtown is on the other side of the city from the 405.

      • Correct. I was just mentioning why this project would actually make more sense for the Clippers than the Angels. Lots of Clipper fans, while Ballmer was looking for potential sites for a new arena, talked about how downtown Long Beach would be a good place. Given the fact that an arena is smaller & could fit in the footprint of the parking lot, it actually does make more sense should the Inglewood deal fall apart.

    • Well both of those are in the main city. Your comparison would be more like putting the arena in South Beach or some satellite Bay Area city not named Oakland. Long Beach may have a lot of people but it can’t compare to the downtown area of two of the largest and densest cities in the country.

      For the record, I never thought Inglewood was a good idea. At least the Honda Center makes sense being in the center of Orange County’s most important city. I don’t see how putting it anywhere near the sphere of influence of Staples Center makes sense, either. Anaheim is the only site that makes any sense to me. It already has the infrastructure, and it allows them to majorly cater to the suburban crowd and others who prefer that life as well as some of the working and middle class people too far from DTLA to see the Lakers all that often.

      • Agree there. Too bad my clipperstoanaheim.com site isn’t up anymore but I made a ton of arguments in favor of Honda Center for the Clippers. I guess Ballmer doesn’t want to be under a lease but if that’s the case, he should try to buy the Ducks from Samueli. Then he’d control the revenue coming into the arena. I guess Samueli doesn’t want to sell or it’s just too far for Ballmer. For whatever reason, he seems to like the idea of being within the sphere of Staples

        • Great points. I think his thinking is probably that it’s a good idea to associate the Clippers with the Rams and feed off of that major draw but the problem with that line of thinking is LA has so many draws that aren’t only in use for sixteen games a year that it’s hard to see the Rams’ stadium drawing anywhere near as many acts as it would need to in order to really realize the district’s true potential. There needs to be a draw for people to go other than Clippers and Rams/Chargers games, and there needs to be demand for the concerts and other events that are needed to fill out the rest of the operating days of any arena. To me, that is only possible in Anaheim -where the Angels, Ducks, and of course Disneyland all are and where there’s tons of suburban and other customers nearby who don’t want to or can’t go to Staples. Inglewood seems like it would cater to a much smaller segment and many less unique customers that it wouldn’t share with DTLA.

  4. “…Hey, if we play our cards right here, the Angels can do for Long Beach what they did for Tustin…”

    Yeah, about that….

  5. That’s on the spot where the Long Beach Grand Prix (IndyCar) have their paddock and pits. Not sure spending a ton on a stadium would be better than the temporary street circuit cost of the race.

  6. My neighbor has an old horseshoes pit behind his house he isn’t using any longer. We’re willing to throw that in as a possible stadium site, as well.

  7. I am really enjoying this pic of a hilariously oversized Angels Stadium in the Long Beach arena parking lot.