Friday, February 18, 2005
Arte's Big Ideas
Oh well I’m the type of guy who will never settle downBill Shaikin's piece today in the Times, "Moreno Has More Big Ideas in Mind" announced Arte's not a little unhappy with Anaheim's unexpected persistence in pursuing a lawsuit to force the Angels to stay an Anaheim team.
Where pretty girls are well, you know that I’m around
I kiss ’em and I love’em ’cause to me they’re all the same
I hug ’em and I squeeze ’em they don’t even know my name
They call me the wanderer yeah the wanderer
I roam around around around...
Although Moreno said Thursday he remains committed to Anaheim, he also said he has been contacted by representatives of other locations interested in luring the Angels.Disney and the Angels put $118M into the stadium in 1996, and after Arte put in new state-of-the-art scoreboards; is that an "old stadium"? Maybe other people think that, but I can hardly imagine cities flocking to the Angels. Instead, if I were some other city thinking about acquiring a baseball team -- say, Las Vegas -- I'd wonder about an owner who's so quick to break the team's lease in spirit if not in the legal letter. But that's okay; it's all a big experiment, you see, and Arte doesn't quite know where all this LAAoA stuff will end up:
"Yes, people talk to us," Moreno said. "Obviously, we're in a lawsuit with the city of Anaheim. Why wouldn't everybody else around start thinking that we're in an old stadium and we're not happy?"
Angel Stadium opened in 1966, with a $118-million renovation completed in 1998. The Angels' lease extends through 2029, but they can terminate the agreement in 2016 by paying an estimated $12-million fee.
Moreno, asked whether the lawsuit might prompt him to consider searching for a new stadium and a way out of Anaheim before 2016, refused to comment.
Moreno said that changing the name from Anaheim Angels should help broaden the team's appeal and generate more revenue by reminding broadcasters and advertisers the team plays in the second-largest media market in the country, although he acknowledged he does not yet have "hard evidence" to back up his theory.I wonder: he's certainly got people laughing, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't the impression he had hoped to leave behind. But maybe he figures after the season starts, it won't matter what city the homeless Angels call home; after all, you can get better deals for yourself if you're the one writing the checks.
Overcoming A "Little League" DealSo it turns out: now we have talk of Arte buying a TV station, or possibly starting a cable network. I've long thought this was the way to go; so has Arte. The public denunciations begin:
He described the Angels' current media deals as "a Little League media package," claiming the Milwaukee Brewers have a better television deal than the Angels and that the Seattle Mariners make three times as much in radio revenue."[A] Little League deal"? Yeah, probably. And I have no doubt but that owning a cable network will leapfrog Arte over the Dodgers in terms of revenue. Noting that the team has increased revenue by 50% in the time the club has been under his ownership, tripling ad revenues, the Yankees now "only" have twice the Angels' revenues.
With Channel 9 dropping the Angels in favor of the Dodgers next season, he said the team could buy a television station or join with a cable or satellite company in starting one.
He noted the Mets, who have partnered with Comcast and Time Warner on a channel to debut next year, signed Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez over the winter. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the teams that generate the most revenue in the major leagues, each operate a cable channel.
"If you're not looking at what the Yankees and Boston are doing, and now what the Mets are doing, and the Cubs and Braves with superstations, then you've got your head in the sand," Moreno said.
Folks, if you want to know why Oakland and even Seattle sometimes look down here with green eyes, that's it in a nutshell. Baseball is a sport and a business; the best clubs, like the Yankees, Red Sox, and historically, the Dodgers, do both well. I've never been opposed to fixing the historic mismanagement the Angels suffered from, even if it means our opponents -- and face it, many of the fans -- will alternately cringe and chuckle when contorting their way through the LAAoA quagmire. But if it means the Angels can sign high-dollar-value prospects like Jered Weaver, if it means the Angels have the means to pick up a Vlad Guerrero or two in the offseason, so be it.
You gotta wonder. Gene Autry made his fortune in broadcasting. The Disney empire has a few years of experience in broadcasting. Neither of them had a f--king clue!
Here a guy who made his billion selling billboards for Chrissake comes in and he is the one making plans for media mega-deals.
As far as a cable channel, what do they play during the offseason on channels like YES. And what do they play during the regular season when they aren't doing pre-game shows, games, and post-game shows? Is it something like ESPN Classic? If that is the case I can see how teams like Boston and the Yankees can make a cable channel work better than the Angels can. The Dodgers should really look into this soon. If the Angels beat them to it, that would be pretty embarrassing.
NESN, the Red Sox's network, also airs the Boston Bruins (in years when they're playing), as well as college hockey and basketball, and outdoors programs.
Finding programming isn't that tough, I would imagine. On the other hand, Disney couldn't get enough to start a network when Fox was threatening ESPN with FSW, so there's precedent. What you maybe forget, Alchemist, is that the Dodgers had their own network, but Frank McCourt's purchase of the Dodgers cut them off from that source of revenue. Now that Fox is divorced from the Dodgers, all bets are off. In combination with Adelphia, Comcast, and Time-Warner, he'd have three of the biggest cable providers in Southern California covered, and none of them having to pay out to Fox for the privilege.
The ONE guy at the city of Anaheim that I really feel sorry for is the poor boob whose job it is to convince the National Football League to place its (ahem) Los Angeles team in Anaheim, while down the corridor his colleagues are suing their baseball tenant over the same issue.
I know officially the NFL spokesmen have said this won't affect the decision-making process, but I for one don't believe it for one minute.
The only thing these sorry pinheads in Anaheim are going to accomplish, other than wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, is chasing the NFL away to Carson or elsewhere. Hell, they may chase away the Angels
I don't really count Fox's ownership of the Dodgers and their ownership of FSW in the same vain as the YES network. Fox never really promoted it as the station for the Dodgers. Because Fox owns several FSNs, they have tried to apply national programming and local programming at the same time. If this national programming included Dodgers games, it would be different, but instead they have games for whatever the local team in the area is.
Arte paid a small market price for the major market Angels -- hell, he even got Disney down on the price. The team may well be worth twice what he paid for it at this point. To move the team to a backwater (sorry Vegas, that's the reality) would immediately destroy the team's value.
Now, on the other hand, the prospect of a waterfront ballpark in, say, Long Beach? That might get some attention from Tio Arturo - - -