The Los Angeles Angels have opted out of their stadium lease through the end of the 2019 season. What does it mean for the City of Anaheim?
The city-owned, 52-year-old Angel Stadium sits on 150 acres and joins Disneyland and Honda Center, the home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, as one of the city’s main anchors.
It is in the area of these attractions that Anaheim is developing the $1.5 billion, 820-acre Platinum Triangle area that within 20 years will hopefully be the home to 28,000 residents, 14 million square feet of offices and 4.7 million square feet of retail and hotels.
A live-work-play area
Anaheim officials planned on the area as a live-work-play area similar to those attached to ballparks in other major league cities. In fact, one study found that neighborhoods surrounding 18 MLB ballparks had home values that surpassed the average in their cities at an average of 15 percent. Some of those parks included Yankee Stadium in New York City, Minute Maid Park in Houston, Fenway Park in Boston, Comerica Park in Detroit and Coors Field in Denver.
For the past 16 years, the Angels have brought 3 million fans to Anaheim annually – a feat achieved by only the Angels and the Yankees in that time span. Also, Anaheim gets about $1 million each year from ticket sales, parking and non-baseball stadium events.
Anaheim and the Angels have been trying for several years to come up with ways to pay for fixes to the stadium. The 52-year-old stadium is the fourth oldest in the MLB, behind only Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. Estimates put the bill for basic repairs – plumbing, electrical and air conditioning, not luxury suits or enhancements – at up to $200 million.
Several deals have fallen through
The city council and the mayor have negotiated several deals with Angels management and ownership to develop land near the stadium that would pay for the necessary improvements, but several such deals were dropped by the mayor and council.
The terms of the Angels’ stadium contract allowed for management to opt out at the end of the 2018 season or the 2029 season with no option in between, so management took advantage of this window.
With new elections in November 2018, Angels management can now negotiate with a new mayor and several new city councilmembers for a long-term contract or, like the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, concoct a series of short-term contracts until a new stadium is built in another city (Las Vegas, in the case of the Raiders).
While the Angels have yet to discuss moving to another area of the country, they have talked about a 400-acre site at the closed Marine Corps Air Station Tustin or a 688-acre site at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, on the site of the closed Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.