This is just a quick conspiracy theory to ponder. There are many unresolved things that might be inhibiting Arte Moreno from getting the best price for the Angels. Consider:
•The Angels are heavily revenue-dependent on their TV rights deal and the era of streaming is going to kill that golden goose in a year or so…
•That he hasn’t settled the Tyler Skaggs related civil litigation means the potential for a big bucks loss could have affected the price he was able to get – this could be a negotiation roadblock too – would Arte be indemnifying the future owners by accepting a few dozen million dollars less in the sale price?
•The ultimate resolution of the City of Anaheim’s aging stadium and the asphalt that surrounds it. The sale price minus any sweetheart deals is up in the air. The laws about building affordable housing units affect the ultimate value to any developments. And most of all, there is an open FBI investigation surrounding the whole thing that again must affect the dollars Arte could potentially get.
To misquote Donald Rumsfeld, there are not a lot of known knowns about the near-term future of the Angels franchise off the field. Now add to that the known unknowns on the field, specifically regarding the possible signing of Shohei Ohtani and you have a sale price that is adversely affected by circumstance beyond one’s control, ohhhhh, ohhh.
BUT… what if the confusion about payouts is not Moreno’s motivation in his recent about-face? If MLB is at all close to expansion, adding two teams could be delivering team owners a substantial payday. If two new expansion team were to pay $1.5 Billion each for the rights to add their teams to the major leagues, that would be $100 Million going to each current franchise. That is probably enough to settle the Skaggs litigation AND pay any impropriety fines involving the City of Anaheim.
If Arte Moreno knows that waiting two years will net him a hundred million dollars and not diminish the value of his major market draw of a franchise, does he sit on the inside information and wait until the waning spoonfuls of his septugenarian stew to sell? Just a thought…
Photo of Arte by the one and only Rex Fregosi