Anaheim is on the clock, sort of.
It is trick or treat time for the city of Anaheim as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ownership has decided to opt out of its stadium lease with the city. The two sides will decide what the right course is for each in the ensuing weeks. It is highly unlikely that the team will leave Anaheim in the foreseeable future. The team has nowhere else to play in the Los Angeles market nor is it likely that Angels ownership would leave the Los Angeles area. But the franchise can leave Anaheim following the 2019 season. Anaheim voters will be electing a new mayor along with city council members on November 6 as Mayor Tom Tait is leaving office. The Angels ownership is surveying the landscape and waiting for the new administration to take over. All options, including leaving Anaheim, are on the table.
Tait has been an obstacle in the Angels ownership’s desire to upgrade the city stadium which is 52 years old and has undergone major renovations over the decades. The Angels management and Tait broke off renovation talks in 2013 and Angels owner Arte Moreno looked at Tustin, which is about eight miles from Anaheim, as a possible landing spot for his team. But Tustin elected officials said no to funding a 37,000-seat stadium and Moreno returned to Anaheim hoping to strike a deal. In the past Moreno has looked at sites in Los Angeles, Carson and Irvine. Moreno is not lacking fan interest in Anaheim. Moreno’s business has a streak of 16 years of drawing three million or more customers annually. The team also has a large TV contract but it needs government support to get a renovated Anaheim stadium or a new stadium elsewhere. Major League Baseball and its 30 franchises are businesses first and foremost, fan loyalty means nothing, it’s the owner’s team.