City officials: Change breaks lease

Updated: January 4, 2005, 12:49 PM ET
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Baseball's Angels have a new name, and it's a mouthful: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The switch, which will be challenged in court by the city of Anaheim, is intended to help the team market itself to more of Southern California, attract more advertising sponsors and broadcast revenue, the team said Monday.

"We believe that the appeal in the marketplace will be broader," Angels spokesman Tim Mead said.

The city of Anaheim will file a lawsuit to block the name change and hopes to obtain a temporary restraining order in place this week, city spokesman John Nicoletti said.

Anaheim officials believe the change violates the terms of the team's 33-year lease with the city.

Twist a phrase
The clause in the 1996 agreement between the Angels and the city of Anaheim is ambiguous and therefore it could be up to the courts to decide whether or not the new name is adequate. In exchange for $20 million in renovations, the team agreed to include Anaheim in their name.
Section 11. Advertising and Sponsorship
(f) Team Name
Tenant will change the name of the team to include the name "Anaheim" therein, such change to be effective no later than the commencement of the 1997 season.
-- Darren Rovell

"It's geographically confusing and absurd," Nicoletti said. "No other professional sports franchise that I know of has two different cities in its names."

When the franchise began in 1961, owned by singing cowboy Gene Autry, it was the Los Angeles Angels. The team became the California Angels when it moved to Anaheim in 1966. In 1997, when the team was controlled by The Walt Disney Co., the franchise was renamed the Anaheim Angels.

Arte Moreno bought the team in 2003, one year after it won the World Series, and he wanted to change the name.

The Angels drew 3,375,677 last season, the third-highest total in baseball behind the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press