The Big A: Our House
For more than 50 years, Angel Stadium of Anaheim — the Big A — has hosted some epic moments in sports, and Anaheim, history.
Think Nolan Ryan's no-hitters of the 1970s, the 2002 World Series, the 2010 All-Star game and the thrill of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani today.
Then there have been amazing concerts, from the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones to Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. And don’t forget Supercross, Monster Jam and other great events.
We’re starting work on the next 50-plus years of the Big A, the city-owned stadium.
In November 2019, we sat down with the Angels to begin talks about the future of baseball in Anaheim and possible development of land around Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
For Anaheim, we’re looking for a new agreement that benefits our residents, businesses and visitors by helping us realize the vision of the Platinum Triangle — the area around the stadium and Honda Center. And, of course, it has to work for the Angels and all the team's fans.
You can find out more below. As things progress, we'll update this site with more details.
What's going on with the Angels and the stadium?
The city and the team are talking about a potential new agreement for baseball in Anaheim.
We have talked with the team about a new agreement on and off since 2013. The current round of talks was initiated after a meeting between Mayor Harry Sidhu and team owner Arte Moreno in January 2019.
Our City Council has been provided updates, been briefed in closed session, discussed agenda items and heard from the public at some 20 meetings so far in 2019 and will continue to do so. It's been the most talked about topic at Anaheim City Council in 2019.
We expect discussions with the Angels to continue through late 2019 with a goal of progress toward or potential consideration of an initial agreement by year's end.
What about all the issues with the death of Tyler Skaggs?
While a sign of how pervasive the opioid crisis is, the issues around the tragic death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs do not have any bearing on discussions about a new potential agreement between the city and team. It's an internal matter for the Angels.
Are the Angels looking at Long Beach?
Long Beach has reached out to the team about exploring the prospect of a stadium on a parcel of land in that city's downtown.
Like any business, the Angels have to look at options brought to them. But with a goal of progress this year, the team has shared with us that their focus is on Anaheim, where the Angels have called home for 53 years and have drawn more than 3 million fans for each of the past 17 seasons.
In spring 2019, the Angels enlisted Newport Beach-based Brooks Street for development consulting services. In May, they added architectural, engineering and financial advisory firms as part of their consultant team.
We believe that speaks to the opportunity here in Anaheim if we can reach an agreement that works for everyone.
How would development be part of a new stadium lease?
While too early for any specifics, we are looking to baseball as part of the long-term vision for the Platinum Triangle, the 820-acre area including the stadium, Honda Center and other businesses and homes.
As seen around California and the nation, stadiums and arenas in conjunction with development is the new standard.
We have a lot of opportunity with land around the stadium. Development as shops, restaurants and even a hotel or office campus could be the way to fund improvements to the Big A or even a new stadium.
What plays out here will be distinctly Anaheim. But there is inspiration to be found across California and the country.
A good example is Golden 1 Center, home to the Sacramento Kings basketball team, which has revitalized California's capital city with the surrounding Downtown Commons and its dining, shopping, entertainment and a boutique hotel.
There's also San Diego’s Petco Park with it’s skyline views, a hotel connected by its own entry bridge and the restaurants and entertainment of the Gaslamp Quarter next door.
We're also tracking the progress of Globe Life Field, the Texas Rangers stadium being built in Arlington, Texas, and set to open in 2020.
Designed by HKS Architects, Globe Life Field will play off the adjacent Texas Live! built in partnership with the Texas Rangers. Texas Live! features cool dining, entertainment and an awe-inspiring 100-foot video wall.
What's the issue with Angel Stadium?
You wouldn't know it, but Angel Stadium is baseball's fourth-oldest stadium after Boston’s Fenway Park, Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium.
The stadium still looks great, but, like any facility of its age, it needs improvements to basics such as plumbing, bathrooms, elevators and escalators, pedestrian ramps and concrete.
What was the extension the City Council approved?
In January 2019, the Council approved an amended lease for the Angels at Angel Stadium.
The amendment mutually rescinded a lease opt-out exercised by the Angels in October 2018, reinstated the 1996 stadium lease and extended the next lease opt-out date to Dec. 31, 2019.
On Jan. 15, 2019, the City Council voted 5-2 to approve the amended lease.
You can read the staff report here.
You can read the lease amendment here.
Why amend the lease?
By rescinding the exercised opt-out, the amended lease allows time for the the city and the Angels gather information, look at options and to talk about a potential new long-term agreement.
In 2018, we approved a new long-term agreement with the operators of Honda Center and the Anaheim Ducks hockey team that keeps the team here for 25-plus years. The deal brings added revenue for Anaheim and is great for our city. But it still took time to explore and work out.
The amended lease with the Angels allows everyone time to work on a new agreement for Angel Stadium. Both sides have spent the better part of 2019 enlisting consultants, gathering information and looking at options.
Why did the Angels exercise an opt-out option?
Like any business, the team had to protect options available to them or lose them. Attempts at a new agreement in 2013 and 2016 never came to fruition, and the team is looking for clarity about its future in Anaheim. We saw this as a new chance for an agreement that works for everyone.
Aren't you just giving the team more time to find another place to play?
We've approved a limited, one-year extension on any future lease opt-out as a good faith effort for a partnership that has spanned five decades.
We believe the Angels are approaching it the same way and that it is clear the team's priority is Anaheim.
Is the team paying more?
The item approved by our Council continues the team's lease under the current terms with no additional payment. Instead, it guarantees the continuation of baseball at least through December 2020 and potentially through 2029 and beyond if we can reach a new long-term agreement.
Who would negotiate a new lease?
The city of Anaheim's negotiating team is made up of City Council-designated representative Mayor Harry Sidhu, City Manager Chris Zapata and City Attorney Rob Fabela, with support from key staff and consultants. The management team of the Angels is negotiating on behalf of the team with outside help and consultation as needed.
What would a new agreement look like?
We are too early for specifics. But, from Anaheim's perspective, a new agreement would keep baseball in Anaheim and be part of our vision for the Platinum Triangle.
The Platinum Triangle continues to evolve into an exciting place with urban-style homes, restaurants, shops and offices. And we want to see more of that for the ongoing benefit it brings to our residents. We have the chance to create something special, and advantageous, for Anaheim.
As underutilized parking lots and industrial space are developed, it brings new revenue from property and sales taxes in the Platinum Triangle. That goes directly to police, fire, libraries, parks and other community services and creates ongoing revenue to serve current and future generations of Anaheim residents.
At the same time, we want to preserve what's great about Angel Stadium: easy freeway access, parking and fan experience getting in and out.
Are you going to lease the land for $1 a year like I heard in 2013?
2013 was six years ago, and we are not looking to rehash a divisive issue from an earlier City Council.
Today, we have a new Council with a fresh perspective.
While it's too early to talk about any potential agreement, we would value land at market prices in a deal that makes good economic sense for our residents and our city.
Our recent agreement with Honda Center and the Anaheim Ducks is a good example. You can learn more at Anaheim. net/HCNext25.
Is it true the Angels don't pay rent at Angel Stadium?
The topic of baseball in Anaheim generates a lot of talk, much of it positive but some of it misleading.
Under the terms of the team's 1996 lease, the Angels prepaid $80 million in rent in the late 1990s in the form of improvements to the Big A, a city facility.
That was money the city and its residents did not have to pay to fix up a stadium that at that time was 30 years old.
The $80 million prepayment works out to $2.4 million a year in rent over the 33-year term of the 1996 lease.
Is the team going to change its name back?
We know the name issue still registers with many in our community. And while we are open to any and all discussion, the name issued was addressed in court a more than decade ago.
We fought a three-year, $7 million lawsuit that started in 2005 and ended in 2007. A jury decided in 2006 that the official team name meets the technical terms of the lease and that the team has discretion in how it markets itself, a decision upheld on appeal in 2007.
To seek a name change in a new agreement could require the city to offer concessions in negotiations.
While the city is open to exploring all aspects of a deal, the name isn't seen as a make-or-break issue on whether baseball continues in Anaheim.
We are focused on big issues, including keeping baseball here, realizing the vision of the Platinum Triangle and securing long-term benefits for residents.
When will we hear more about a potential new lease?
We've started talks with the Angels and will work through the negotiation process for the remainder of 2019.
We'll provide updates here and on our fact sheet as things progress. Our city manager will also continue to brief our City Council as he has updates.
We would hope to have details on an initial agreement in late 2019.
Any agreement would go before our City Council for approval. We'll share details with the public beforehand, similar to how we did with our agreement with Honda Center, which was well received by the community.