As Angel Stadium Approaches 50th Anniversary, Team Weighs Long-Term Options
If the NFL and AEG "cannot make a deal within the next year or two, the Angels could be on deck, on the site now reserved for Farmers Field," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Angels Owner Arte Moreno and Chair Dennis Kuhl "met this month with AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke," but neither AEG nor the Angels "would discuss the meeting." The Angels "can exercise an escape clause in their stadium lease" in '16. If they "do not, they must remain in Anaheim until 2029." Angel Stadium turns 50 in '16, and underwent a "substantial makeover" in '97. Shaikin wrote it is "not surprising that Moreno would talk with Leiweke." The Angels and AEG "already are merchandising partners." The Dodgers "could not challenge an Angels move to Los Angeles, at least not in the way the San Francisco Giants are blocking the A's from moving to San Jose." But this is "far from a done deal, or even the start of a deal." AEG would "rather have the NFL," and Moreno "would not limit his options to Anaheim or downtown L.A. so soon." On the "plus side for Anaheim, the hostility between city and team has long since passed, and the two sides have cooperated on the World Baseball Classic and the All-Star game." Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said, "We love having them here, and we think they feel the same." On the "minus side for Anaheim, the city is in no position to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars toward a stadium project." Shaikin wrote, "The most intriguing wrinkle: The Angels' attendance has crashed, even after Moreno shelled out $240 million to buy Albert Pujols." The team sold 27,338 tickets to an April 16 game against the A's. For the "first time in 689 games -- a streak extending to 2003 -- the Angels sold fewer than 30,000 tickets." They did it "again on April 18, and a third time on April 19." The signing of Pujols "triggered the sale of more than 5,000 season tickets" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).