The 2 Contracts: Who Was Promised What


Gene Autry, the self-proclaimed “first of the full-time singing cowboys” and owner of the California Angels, once made a most prophetic observation about professional baseball:

“It looks so simple on the field, all that green geometry, and yet within even the smoothest of organizations there are enough disturbances to make an Italian opera company seem calm,” Autry wrote in his autobiography, “Back in the Saddle Again.”

The book was published in 1978, and if Autry thought the business of baseball was complicated then, he had another think coming.


Two years later, the Los Angeles Rams moved to Orange County to share the Big A. Three years after that, Goldenwest Baseball Co., the Angels’ parent organization, filed a $100-million civil lawsuit against Anaheim to halt development of part of the stadium parking lot with offices buildings and parking structures.

At the heart of the dispute are the contracts that Anaheim offered the two ballclubs to get them to move from Los Angeles to growing Orange County.

According to the original contract between the city and the baseball club that was finalized on Aug. 8, 1964, Anaheim promised the following:

- The city would build a multipurpose stadium on a 146-acre parcel bounded by State College Boulevard and Katella Avenue with a seating capacity of about 45,000.

- Anaheim would “pave, mark and adequately operate and maintain the parking lots on the area indicated as such on the agreed plans and specifications so as to provide parking spaces for not less than 12,000 cars. . . .”

- The lease would continue until the year 2031.

- Rent would be decided one of two ways. The Angels would pay either a minimum rental of $160,000 a year. Or the team would pay a percentage rental that would include: 7 1/2% of the admission money paid by the first 2 million spectators each year; 10% of all admission money above the first 2 million and 15% of the television revenues.


- “No reduction or diminution in any of the facilities, equipment or improvements furnished by (Anaheim) . . . shall be made during the continuance of this lease agreement without the advance written consent” of the Angels.

Anaheim Stadium Associates is a partnership of the Boston-based development firm of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes and RAMCO Fund, a trust for the heirs of the late Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom. In ASA’s original ground lease with the city, which was finalized Nov. 21, 1978, and in a subsequent exhibition agreement, the partnership was promised the following:

- It would be able to develop 68 acres of stadium land to build “office buildings (high-rise, medium-rise or garden type), banks or thrift institutions, high-technology laboratories, industrial buildings, free-standing restaurants, hotels or motor hotels, theaters, commercial and retail uses. . . .”

- Should ASA construct any buildings that decreased the number of parking spaces below 15,000, the “city and ASA agree that a parking district within the leased land shall be organized, parking structures constructed and costs of construction financed. . . .”

- The lease would continue until the year 2028.

- Rent would be charged at the annual rate of $8,000 per acre and the property would be taxed at $1,500 per acre per year.

- The leaseholders would have the option to buy the property that had been developed.

- The Rams would pay 7 1/2% of their gate receipts to the city and split the concession and parking revenues evenly.