In a news release, the Angels ownership group announced that it is considering selling the team, and will start to explore a possible sale along with Galatioto Sports Partners (who have been retained as financial advisors during the process).
“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” owner Arte Moreno in the statement. “As an Organization, we have worked to provide our fans an affordable and family-friendly ballpark experience while fielding competitive lineups which includes some of the game’s all-time greatest players.”
“Although this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved a great deal of thoughtful consideration, my family and I have ultimately come to the conclusion that now is the time. Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players, and business partners.”
While any number of factors may have weighed into the Moreno family’s thought process, it was less than three months ago that Anaheim’s city council ruled against a long-gestating deal that would have seen Moreno’s management group purchase Angel Stadium and the entire 150-acre property around the ballpark. Moreno’s group was planning to develop the area into a multi-purpose residential and commercial space, similar to other “ballpark village” developments that have become common around both newer baseball stadiums and other venues in other sports.
However, the tentative agreement between Moreno and the city fell apart, in large part due to an ongoing federal investigation concerning alleged corruption, violations of state laws, and insider information. Former Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu resigned his position, and the city council voted to overturn the Angel Stadium deal entirely in the wake of the scandal.
Though the stadium controversy led to fresh questions about the franchise’s future in Anaheim, it now seems like Moreno himself will be walking away from the Angels entirely. Moreno originally bought the team in April 2003 for a price of $184MM, taking over operations from the Walt Disney Company in the wake of the Angels’ 2002 World Series championship season.
That 2002 title still stands as the franchise’s lone championship, despite Moreno’s efforts to remake the Angels into a big-spending perpetual contender. Under Moreno’s stewardship, the Halos have regularly been at least a top-10 payroll team, even if Moreno’s willingness to spend didn’t lead to a willingness to cross the luxury tax threshold. (2004 was the only season the Angels ever made a luxury tax payment.)
More to come…