Media > Angels Could Benefit

July 7, 2004

Bill Shaikin

LA Times

As fans opposed to the Angels' possible name change scrambled for ways to protest, a Cal State Fullerton marketing professor said Tuesday the team could benefit from calling itself the Los Angeles Angels.

On Tuesday, the first business day since The Times reported Sunday that Angel owner Arte Moreno had discussed the possible change with Commissioner Bud Selig, the team received "less than a dozen e-mails" in opposition, said Tim Mead, the Angels' vice president of communications. Mead declined to comment about the proposal itself.

Fans debated the issue on radio shows and online message boards, most urging Moreno to retain the Anaheim Angels name. On the Angel website, one fan posted the address to the team offices and implored fans to write Moreno in protest, while another provided a link to a petition that gathered 120 signatures in its first day.

"Los Angeles is our neighbor with a great sports history, but the Angels are our family and a source of pride in our community," said Rob Rohm, 33, of Orange, who created the petition. "We have our own identity in Orange County, and the recent success of our sports franchises is helping to establish us nationally."

If he goes ahead, Moreno would need to persuade the Anaheim City Council to renegotiate a stadium lease that requires the team to be called the Anaheim Angels.

Moreno does not plan to move the team from Anaheim. By identifying the team with Los Angeles, Moreno would hope to persuade potential broadcasters and national advertisers to pay more, reinforcing the point that the team plays in the second-largest media market in the country.

Tom Boyd, a Fullerton professor who studies the business of baseball, said the possible change could help Moreno close a revenue gap with the Dodgers, who he said receive three to four times as much money in sponsorships and broadcast rights. He said Moreno would alienate some fans, particularly in Orange County, but could attract many more by fielding a consistent winner, whatever the name.

"There's definitely a price that will be paid if they change the name. They definitely have some equity in that affiliation," Boyd said. "But from a business standpoint, it would be a pretty sound move.

"In the long run, it's probably better for the team. The fans they add would more than offset the fans they lose."