Arte Moreno, who has owned the Los Angeles Angels for nearly two decades, announced today he is exploring a possible sale of the franchise.
The team announced it has hired a financial advising firm to evaluate “strategic alternatives including a possible sale of the team.”
“It has been a great honor and privilege to own the Angels for 20 seasons,” Moreno said in a statement released by the team. “As an organization, we have worked to provide our fans an affordable and family-friendly ballpark experience while fielding competitive lineups which included some of the game’s all-time greatest players.
“Although this difficult decision was entirely our choice and deserved a great deal of thoughtful consideration, my family and I have ultimately come to the conclusion that now is the time. Throughout this process, we will continue to run the franchise in the best interest of our fans, employees, players, and business partners.”
Moreno bought the team for about $180 million from the Walt Disney Co. in 2003.
In early 2019, the Angels were in talks with the city of Long Beach about the prospect of relocating the team to the large undeveloped parcel near the Long Beach Convention Center known as the “Elephant Lot.” The talks fell apart after the Angels and Anaheim struck a negotiating deal to move forward with a plan to develop a much larger project on the 155-acre site surrounding the existing stadium in Anaheim.
But that plan also fell apart early this year, with the City Council voting unanimously in May to halt the $320 million deal to sell the stadium and the surrounding land to Moreno, who had planned to develop the land into housing, restaurants, park space and other amenities.
The city officially pulled the plug on the proposed sale amid an FBI investigation into allegations that former Mayor Harry Sidhu fed insider information to the team in hopes of landing a substantial campaign donation.
Sidhu resigned as mayor in May.
The team has retained Galatioto Sports Partners as a financial adviser to explore alternatives for a sale of the team.
Moreno purchased the team following the Angels’ World Series title in2002, but the team has struggled over the past decade, failing to make the playoffs since 2014. The squad is currently mired in its seventh straight losing season.
The team has also had off-the-field struggles, most notably the 2019 overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs in a Texas hotel room, and the conviction earlier this year of the team’s former communications director for providing him with the narcotics.
Skaggs’ family has sued the franchise, alleging team officials should have known Eric Kay was dealing drugs to players. The team has blasted the suit as baseless.
The Angels have a lease to play at Angel Stadium through 2029 with the option for three three-year extensions through 2038.
The city released a statement Tuesday saying, “We have seen three Angels owners since the team moved here in 1966. While team sales do not happen every day, they are a fact of life in sports. This is a potential decision for Arte Moreno based on his investment and family considerations. Should we see new ownership, we look forward to continuing a great tradition of baseball in Anaheim.”