Q&A: What’s next for the Angels: Who will be the new owner? What happens to Shohei Ohtani?
Here are some key questions and early answers about the potential transaction.
Who might buy the Angels?
The most likely candidate to buy a sports team could be someone who already owns one.
Under Moreno, the Angels never won a World Series championship. Under Joe Lacob, the Golden State Warriors won four in eight years.
Lacob has looked into buying the Angels, Dodgers and Oakland Athletics at various times during the past two decades. His proven ability to deliver winners and the newfound availability of the Angels could make him an intriguing candidate.
“Can’t answer this question that fast,” Lacob said in an email to The Times on Tuesday. “We look at good opportunities.”
He added a smile emoji.
Lacob could be outbid by the Rams’ Stan Kroenke, who was a runner-up in the Dodgers’ bidding in 2012 and who could emulate his development around Sofi Stadium in the Angel Stadium parking lot. A representative for Kroenke declined to comment.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is not believed to be interested.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has looked into buying the Dodgers and other major league teams, told The Times he is not interested in pursuing the Angels.
Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli, the owners of Orange County’s other major team, are not believed to be interested in the Angels. A spokesperson for the Samuelis did not immediately return a message Tuesday.
Lacob grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Southern California in his youth.
“I became an Angels fan and worked at Anaheim Stadium for seven years as a peanut vendor,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published last month.
Lacob told the Chronicle he is interested in buying the A’s, but owner John Fisher has said the team is not for sale. Lacob also told the Chronicle he looked into the Angels when the Walt Disney Co. put the team up for sale in 2002 — Moreno beat out Frank McCourt in the bidding — and into the Dodgers soon after. His co-owner with the Warriors, Peter Guber, is a partner in the Dodgers ownership.
Lacob’s Warriors privately financed the new Chase Center. Angel Stadium needs to be renovated or replaced, and the new owner will have to decide how to cover the cost.
MLB now allows investment funds to take minority stakes in teams, so buyers could turn to private equity to help finance a winning bid.
Years of poor decisions have fueled the Angels’ struggles despite the team featuring Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Now Arte Moreno is weighing a sale.
How much might the Angels sell for?
Forbes estimates the Angels’ value at $2.2 billion, but the purchase price is what a buyer is willing to pay. Forbes estimated the Dodgers’ value at $800 million when McCourt put them up for sale; Mark Walter and Co. won an auction at $2.15 billion.
The record sale price for an MLB team is $2.4 billion, paid by Steve Cohen to buy the New York Mets in 2020. The scarcity of available sports teams in major markets — there are only two MLB teams in L.A. — and the possibility of real estate development around Angel Stadium means the Angels’ sale price might well exceed that of the Mets and set another MLB record.
How fast can this happen?
The best hope would be by opening day 2023, or soon after.
When the Angels were sold to Moreno, Disney hired an investment banker — the same one Moreno now is using — in September 2002. The sale was finalized in May 2003.
What could complicate matters: The Washington Nationals already are on the market, and the family that owns the Baltimore Orioles is in litigation that could lead to a sale of that team. Major League Baseball controls how much financial information potential buyers can see, and when they can see it. The approval process for multiple buyers with multiple teams up for sale could delay a final sale, which must be approved by MLB owners.
The Angels’ sale process began Tuesday.
Arte Moreno has started exploring the possibility of selling the Angels, the team announced, and has taken on Galatioto Sports Partners as financial advisors.
Why would Arte Moreno want to sell the Angels?
In May, after an FBI affidavit revealed then-Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu was under investigation for public corruption, the Anaheim City Council killed the $320-million deal in which Moreno would have renovated Angel Stadium and built a ballpark village around it.
That was one factor in Moreno’s decision to sell, but not the only one. For another, Moreno is 76, with no family member clearly interested in taking over the team.
If the Seattle Mariners make the playoffs this season, no American League team will have gone longer without a postseason appearance than the Angels, even with the glorious presence of three-time MVP Mike Trout and baseball’s most intriguing player, two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani.
The high-priced free agents lately have been flops more often than not, most notably Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. The minor league system is ranked worst by MLB Pipeline. By next spring, the Angels could be on their fifth manager in six years. Their attendance is projected to be 2.5 million, the first full season below 3 million in the two decades of Moreno’s ownership.
Moreno still faces a civil lawsuit from the family of the late pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The suit alleges the Angels knew or should have known that former team publicist Eric Kay was providing illegal drugs to players. In February, Kay was convicted of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death; a jury found Kay supplied Skaggs with the fentanyl-laced pill that killed him. Kay faces 20 years to life in federal prison.
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The city of Anaheim owns Angel Stadium. Does the city have any say in the sale of the team?
No. The Angels’ stadium lease transfers to any new owner approved by MLB.
Could the Angels move out of Anaheim?
The Angels’ lease expires in 2029, and the team has options to extend the lease through 2038. It is unlikely that a new owner would win a bidding war for a team in the second-largest media market in the United States and then devalue the investment by moving the team outside the market.
Under MLB rules, the Angels share the Southern California territory with the Dodgers, so the Angels could move to Los Angeles without the Dodgers’ consent. Long Beach has courted the Angels for a potential waterfront ballpark.
But California cities largely have ruled out paying to build major sports facilities for private owners, leaving real estate development as the popular way for owners to finance their venues. In Anaheim, the ballpark site has three times as much land available for development as the potential site in Long Beach, and the Anaheim site has excellent access via freeways and mass transit.
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What will happen to Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani?
Trout, 31, is in the fourth year of a 12-year, $425-year contract. He’s had a succession of injuries and hasn’t played more than 140 games in a season since 2016. Trout isn’t going anywhere but his enormous salary could impact the Angels’ ability to spend on free agents for years to come.
Ohtani, 28, can leave the Angels as a free agent after next season. He has made clear he has little patience for the Angels’ consistent losing. On the other hand, what better way for a new owner to make his mark than to persuade Ohtani to stay by surrounding him with depth and talent and selling him on a championship vision?
Arte Moreno has started exploring the option of selling the Angels, the team announced Tuesday. Here’s some of what our staff has written about Moreno and the current state of the Angels.
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