Arte Moreno, who has owned the Los Angeles Angels for nearly two decades, announced Tuesday 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.
The team has retained Galatioto Sports Partners as a financial adviser to explore alternatives.
He purchased the team following the Angels’ World Series title in 2002, 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.
Moreno has also been mired in failed discussions with the city of Anaheim over the proposed purchase of Angel Stadium. The city officially pulled the plug on the proposed sale in May, acting 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 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.”
Long Beach officials have made overtures to the Angels about the possibility of building a seaside stadium in that city.