Angels and Anaheim are expected to agree to one-year extension on Angel Stadium lease
The Angels and the city of Anaheim are expected to agree to a one-year extension of the team’s lease at Angel Stadium, which would keep the team in Anaheim through the 2020 season.
The Anaheim City Council is expected to consider the extension at its meeting Tuesday. Harry Sidhu, the city’s new mayor, plans to introduce the proposal after meeting last week with Angels owner Arte Moreno.
“From that meeting, it is clear the team’s priority is to stay in Anaheim if we can work out a deal that benefits our residents, the city and the team,” Sidhu said in a statement. “We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen.”
The short-term deal would assure the Angels a home beyond this year. It would also allow time for the new city council to familiarize itself with options for keeping the team in Anaheim — in a new or renovated stadium — while the Angels consider alternative homes in Southern California.
In October, the Angels opted out of a lease that would have bound them to play in Angel Stadium through 2029.
After meeting with Sidhu, Moreno said in a statement, “we realized a one-year extension will give us adequate time to work collaboratively on a long-term relationship.”
In 2013, when Anaheim extended the team’s deadline to opt out, the city got nothing in return. In exchange for forgoing its right to kick the Angels out of the stadium after the coming season, the city wants to take the extra time to try to integrate the Angels into a vision of developments of residences, shops, restaurants and breweries in the stadium neighborhood.
“Professional sports are critical to that,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said. “We would rather take the time to negotiate an agreement that keeps that vision in mind rather than rushing something through for the sake of a compressed deadline.”
In November, Anaheim voters elected Sidhu as the new mayor. Tom Tait, the Anaheim mayor who led the drive against a tentative agreement between the city and the team for an Angel Stadium renovation in 2013, completed his final term in office in December.
Angel Stadium, which opened in 1966, is the fourth-oldest ballpark in the major leagues, behind Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium.
Since 2003, the first season of Moreno’s ownership, the Angels and New York Yankees are the only major league teams to sell 3 million tickets every year.
The Angels ended negotiations with Anaheim in 2014, then revived them briefly in 2016. They explored options for new ballparks in Los Angeles, Carson and Irvine, but prioritized a proposal for a new stadium in Tustin because of its proximity to their current home and fan base.
The team and Tustin officials are believed to have focused on a facility that would have seated about 37,000 and cost about $700 million. Tustin officials said then that they would not provide taxpayer funding for stadium construction.
Under the failed 2013 deal, initially proposed by the city, Anaheim would have provided land in the stadium parking lot to Moreno, who would have agreed to pay for an estimated $150 million in stadium improvements, at no cost to the city.
Moreno could have recouped his investment by developing the land. Tait objected to the city leasing the land to Moreno for $1 per year, and to the city not sharing in the profits from development.
In October, when the Angels opted out of their stadium lease, team spokeswoman Marie Garvey said they understood they were unlikely to find a city in Southern California willing to pay for a new ballpark.
“We understand the realities of California,” she said. “There is a significant investment involved either way.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin
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