LONG BEACH, Calif. (CNS) - City officials have approached the Los Angeles Angels about the possibility of moving the team to Long Beach, where officials hope to build a new stadium on a downtown waterfront lot.
The stadium would potentially be constructed on a roughly 13-acre lot southeast of the Long Beach Arena and Performing Arts Center, according to a story first reported by the Long Beach Post on Monday.
"As part of our efforts to create a downtown waterfront development plan, we are exploring the feasibility of a downtown sports venue on the Convention Center parking lot," Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said.
"We are in the early stages of our due diligence and are exploring a variety of options for this property. We have approached the Angels to express our interest and discuss the possibilities of this opportunity. This is very preliminary and discussions are ongoing."
The Angels exercised an opt-out of their lease for the city-owned Angel Stadium in October that meant the team wouldn't play in Anaheim after October 2019. However, the Anaheim City Council approved a 14-month lease extension on Jan. 15, ensuring the team would play at Angel Stadium through at least 2020 and allow time for both sides to discuss a new, potential long-term lease.
There was no response to an email sent to the Angels seeking comment, but the team hinted at possible talks in a statement from President John Carpino published in the Los Angeles Times, saying: "As we have stated from the beginning, we must explore all our options to secure a long-term future for the Angels and provide fans with a high-quality experience in a renovated or new ballpark."
The Times report also said that Angels owner Arte Moreno met with Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu last month.
"From that meeting, it is clear the team's priority is to stay in Anaheim if we can work out a deal that benefits our residents, the city and the team," Sidhu said in a statement, according to the Times. "We need a plan to make that happen, and we need time to make that happen."
The Angels negotiated with Long Beach in the 1960s, but the talks ended when then-owner Gene Autry rejected Long Beach City Manager John Mansell's demand that the team be called the Long Beach Angels.