The owner of the defending NBA champions confirmed Thursday he is exploring the purchase of the Angels.
In August, when Angels owner Arte Moreno put the team up for sale, Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob told the Los Angeles Times he would “look at good opportunities.” On a podcast with the Athletic columnist Tim Kawakami, Lacob said the Angels could indeed be a good opportunity.
“I’ve always felt that it had great possibilities,” Lacob said. “L.A. is a huge market, and it’s part of that L.A. overall market.
“They’ve drawn over 3 million fans, I think, 17 out of the last 20 years. We’re going to look at it. … It may be doable. So we’ll see.”
The Angels are expected to sell for at least $2.5 billion, which would be a record price for a Major League Baseball team.
There are believed to be at least six parties considering a bid, including Lacob, Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, and an unidentified Japanese partnership. The parties are reviewing the Angels’ financial data, with bidding expected to start next month.
Lacob’s Warriors have won four of the last eight NBA championships. His partner in Warriors ownership, Peter Guber, holds an ownership stake in the Dodgers and LAFC.
Lacob grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Southern California in his youth. He worked as a peanut vendor at what was then called Anaheim Stadium for seven years.
“That’s a little bit of an attraction for me,” Lacob told Kawakami. “I lived a mile from that stadium. It’s an older stadium.”
Angel Stadium, which opened in 1966, is the fourth-oldest ballpark in the major leagues, behind Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium. A new owner would inherit the Angels’ stadium lease, which extends through 2029.
Moreno and the city of Anaheim negotiated a deal in which Moreno’s development company would have been responsible for renovating or replacing the stadium, then building out the surrounding 150-acre site with restaurants, shops, homes, hotels and offices.
The city terminated the deal last May after the public disclosure of an FBI corruption investigation into Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu, whom an FBI agent alleged provided confidential negotiating information to the Angels in the hope they would provide him with a $1-million contribution to his reelection campaign. Sidhu resigned but, through his attorney, has denied wrongdoing. He has not been charged with a crime.