FIRST THE MIGHTY DUCKS, NOW ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD?
The Walt Disney Co. and the Angels yesterday announced that
Disney has agreed in principle to buy a 25% interest in the team,
with an option to purchase the rest of the team upon the death of
Owner Gene Autry, according to the L.A. TIMES. Disney will
reportedly assume the role of managing general partner and run
the day-to-day operations of the team. According to Angels
President and CEO Richard Brown, that will happen "when the deal
is consummated." Although terms were not disclosed, the deal is
reported to be worth about $30M. Former MLB Commissioner Peter
Ueberroth, who was considered the "front-runner" to buy the team
was told that the Disney offer "exceeded" the bid made by his
group. Ueberroth: "We were disappointed that our bid was not
accepted..." (Steve Emmons, L.A. TIMES, 5.19).
MARKETING REVIVAL? In L.A., Ross Newhan writes, "[Disney's
involvement] will almost certainly mean the revival of a comatose
marketing and sales program throughout a densely populated area
that the Angels have often ignored" (L.A. TIMES, 5/19). Disney
Chair and CEO Michael Eisner said that the company "will create a
number of concepts to develop synergies between the Angels and
various Disney entities" (Thomas King, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
IMPROVED RELATIONSHIPS: Since the relationship between the
Autrys and the city of Anaheim "has been strained for years ...
the possibility of Anaheim building a new baseball stadium with
favorable terms for the Angels, or of at least significantly
improving the ... lease, is greatly enhanced by Disney's
involvement" (L.A. TIMES, 5/19).