Anaheim is not back in the Angels baseball team name, according to separate statements from the Angels and Mayor Harry Sidhu days before the City Council is scheduled to discuss a potential deal at its Tuesday meeting.
The statements also come within a day of Councilman Jose Moreno stressing the name’s importance to residents at a community meeting Aug. 21.
“We know the name issue still resonates in our community. But it is a distraction from what is really important: preserving baseball in Anaheim with a deal that is good for our city and that brings lasting benefits for residents for years to come,” Sidhu said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
Unless the item gets tabled, Tuesday could mark the first time the entire Anaheim City Council discusses what it would like to see in a new stadium lease.
In the Aug. 22 article, Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey also said the name issue won’t be addressed.
“The name was already addressed several years ago,” Garvey said. “It is not up for discussion.”
Sidhu did not respond to Voice of OC for comment. He’s also on the lead negotiating team, along with City Manager Chris Zapata and City Attorney Rob Fabela.
At the community meeting, Moreno said he was going to try to get Anaheim back into the name, address questions about maintenance responsibilities and get fair market rent from the team.
“I was very disappointed that the Mayor would call something as economically fundamental, let alone culturally and community wise fundamental, of the team name having Anaheim in it — him calling it a distraction. For the Mayor to say that, it doesn’t seem he captures the economic value of having the city’s name on a professional sports team,” Moreno told Voice of OC Aug. 22.
The lease, signed in 1996, mandated “Anaheim” be included in the team name. At the time, having Anaheim in the team’s name was part of the city’s concession on stadium revenues.
When Arte Moreno (unrelated to Jose Moreno) bought the ball club from Disney in 2003, he changed the name to “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” and the move drew the ire of both Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Anaheim ended up suing the Angels over the name change and losing in Orange County Superior Court. An appeals court also found the name change still adhered to the lease so long as “Anaheim” was in the team name.
An attorney representing the city at the time told the superior court that the name “Anaheim Angels” helped produce about $100 million yearly in “impressions” for the city, according to an LA Times article.
Now, the Angels are simply called “The Los Angeles Angels” on Major League Baseball websites. Anaheim or Los Angeles doesn’t appear on their uniforms either, which have simply have had “Angels” printed on the front since 1997.
Garvey said the team isn’t violating the court decision.
“We’re completely fulfilling the court [ruling], it was settled long ago and we’re fulfilling that,” Garvey told Voice of OC.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is still the official team name, she said.
In the LA Times article, Sidhu said Anaheim’s name is mentioned during broadcasts.
“We see national and global exposure from having the Angels in Anaheim,” Sidhu said. “Our city is mentioned nearly every time the team is on TV, and aerial shots of the stadium and our theme parks help promote our city to the world.
Sidhu also published an opinion article online in the Orange County Register late Thursday evening that laid out some negotiation points like fair market prices for rent or a land sale and potential developments like retail, restaurants and housing on the land surrounding the stadium.
“As part of the negotiating team, I will insist that any land sales or leases be at market prices, reflecting ongoing baseball use, development we’re likely to see and any requirements we may ask for with the land. You’ll hear some argue for unrealistic prices based on what we might see if we sold all of the land for housing,” Sidhu wrote.
But Sidhu didn’t say if the city is looking to hold onto those potential revenue streams or split them with the Angels.
The Angels team owner told the OC Register in February that the team will only stay in Anaheim if the city helps pay for upgrades to the ballpark.
The team doesn’t pay an annual rent because it paid $87 million in stadium upgrades from 1996 to 1998, when Disney bought the team.
“Those who don’t want the Angels to stay, or only want a deal on their terms, will tell you the team doesn’t pay rent at the stadium. From 1996 to 1998, the team paid $87 million to fix up Angel Stadium, which then was 30 years old,” Sidhu wrote. “That was $87 million our residents did not have to pay to fix up our stadium.”
Moreno, the councilman, said shortly after he was first elected to the Council in 2016 he met with Angels representatives and they showed him a list of maintenance projects the team paid for since the initial $87 million. But the team didn’t let him keep the list, Moreno said.
The city is responsible for a portion of maintenance — paying roughly $650,000 a year back into the stadium.
Garvey said the amount the Angels spend on maintenance varies depending on what needs to be fixed and didn’t have an average.
“We continually invest in the stadium every year to ensure an incredible fan experience as the fourth oldest stadium in the league. Maintenance typically includes plumbing, painting and electrical infrastructure,” she said.
Tom Morton, convention center director who is also responsible for Angel Stadium, declined an interview request about who pays for what and how much for maintenance.
The lease states the “tenant (Angels) will maintain the baseball stadium in good condition and repair, subject to ordinary wear and tear, at its sole expense…”
According to a city document, the stadium needs an estimated $150 million in renovations over the next 20 years, including infrastructure like plumbing and bathrooms. It also needs to upgrade its elevators and escalators, pedestrian ramps and concrete.
Moreno said he’s going to bring up the maintenance responsibilities with staff during Tuesday’s Council meeting.
“The agreement does spell out the Angels have to send in an itemized report of the maintenance they did do with the money they spent,” Moreno said.
Under the 1996 lease, which was reinstated in January, the team keeps all advertising revenue and the city won’t see any ticket revenue unless the team sells over 2.6 million tickets in a year. The city also gets 25 percent of parking revenue above $4 million annually and 25 percent of other event revenue — like motocross and monster truck shows — above $2 million annually.
According to a stadium cashflow document provided by the city covering fiscal years 2013-2014 to 2017-2018, the city made no money on parking and averaged just under $1 million on ticket revenue except for 2014-2015 when it made $1.26 million from tickets. Other event revenues also vary, ranging from the lowest of $36,600 in 2016-2017 to the highest in 2017-2018 at $444,000, according to the years provided.
When bond repayment is factored in, the stadium sometimes costs the city money. In 2016-2017, the stadium cost the city $440,000, but then made Anaheim nearly $710,000 the following fiscal year.
City officials have said the revenue isn’t directly from the stadium, but instead from developments near the Big A.
But sports stadium finance and negotiations experts have told Voice of OC that Anaheim should focus more on direct revenue coming from the stadium, instead of relying on development surrounding the stadium.
And since the lease was reinstated, Moreno, along with stadium experts, said the city lost all of its leverage and is now negotiating against itself.
“So we are now in a position, based on the extension provided, to be negotiating against the old lease. That’s the reference point. And the Angels will have to decide that would anything the city now wants — is it better or worse in the lease they have now. That was a shift in the dynamic and the balance of the negotiations,” Moreno said.