Angels, city of Anaheim launch stadium negotiations with deadline looming

The Angels and the city of Anaheim met Friday for what the city called “an initial discussion about the future of baseball in the city.”

The two sides have yet to set another meeting date, city spokesman Mike Lyster said.

The Angels face a Dec. 31 deadline to opt out of their stadium lease or remain bound to it through 2029.

The city statement Friday said the two sides “expect to continue talking and working toward progress by year’s end.” A majority of the City Council appears determined to strike a new deal with the Angels and could extend that deadline past Dec. 31 if the two sides are making progress.

The Angels opted out of their stadium lease 13 months ago in the hope of securing a better deal in Anaheim or elsewhere in Southern California. According to a team spokeswoman, the Angels now are “100% focused on Anaheim,” yet the team and city had not held a formal negotiation until Friday.

“Both sides have spent much of 2019 preparing to sit down together, and that showed at this meeting,” Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu said in a statement. “While we still have work ahead of us, this meeting was positive for baseball in Anaheim and for our residents.”

The parameters are no different than when the two sides last proposed a new lease six years ago. Instead of paying for a new or renovated stadium, the city would let the Angels develop shops, restaurants and hotels on the surrounding parking lot, with the team using revenue from those developments to recoup stadium construction costs.

The 2013 deal fell apart when then-mayor Tom Tait objected to the city leasing the land to the Angels for $1 per year, with no sharing in the profits generated by development. The city has emphasized those terms are not on the table this time, and Sidhu has said he would like the Angels to pay market rate to buy or rent whatever land they might like to develop.

The Anaheim City Council is scheduled to discuss the negotiations at its meeting Tuesday, but behind closed doors and without public update. Any deal would be made public in advance of a vote, although the council has declined to consider a minimum period for public comment.

When the city approved a new lease with the NHL Ducks last year, the deal was disclosed publicly Nov. 16 and approved by the council Nov. 20.

The last council meeting of the year is scheduled Dec. 17, which is 28 days from Tuesday. The council twice rebuffed a proposal from Councilman Jose Moreno to allow 30 days of public review before a vote.

Subcribe to our upcoming match