Thursday, January 20, 2005

Report: LA Doesn't Want Angels

Boo Freakin' Hoo. It seems the City Council of LA filed a brief in support of the Anaheim lawsuit against the Angels name change. There point of contention is that is is "improper for the Angels to use the name of a city in which they do not play or pay taxes." Yeah, certainly no precedent for that is there? Just a few names off the top of my head:

Dallas Cowboys (Irvin and soon to be Arlington)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (St. Pete)
NY Giants (East Rutherford, NJ)
NY Jets (East Rutherford, NJ)
Washington Redskins (Landover, MD)

And who can forget those lovable losers, the LA Rams.

Get your egos in check LA, this has nothing to do with your crime-addled city. As I have written innumerable times before, it is about encompassing the entire Southland as a market and not being, as Arte Moreno put it, pigeon-holed as a small market team by a city (Anaheim) that represents less than 3% of the population of that market.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how exactly is arte supposed to be making money off this?

We have already seen the downside:
*National and even international ridicule
*Poisoning of at least a small percentage of the fan base
*The owner being portrayed as a shyster from Los Angeles to Anaheim governments, all the way to the floor of congress.


Tell me, when are the positives going to kick in?

1:44 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Keep in mind, all of those teams had those names before they moved. The Angels moved to Anaheim, upon which time they changed names (if they had kept LA in it, no one would have cared or would care now). They then changed names again when the city shelled out $30 million to help redesign the stadium. Now, without moving, they have changed their name to represent a city they don't play for. I think that kind of a name change would be unprecedented (or at least unheard of in the last 50 years).

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don’t particularly like the name… probably because I don’t particularly like LA. However, people have short memories! In less than 24 months this whole thing will blow over and Arte will be reaping the rewards of this marketing decision.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In less than 24 months this whole thing will blow over and Arte will be reaping the rewards of this marketing decision."

That is the answer I hear everywhere. Just change the name to LA and watch the profits roll in.

Can anyone answer specifically, "How?"

12:37 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

First off, this is not any kind of "ATM" money maker where a new name equals $20 bills falling from the sky. This is about building a brand and national awareness of what Angel fans not only already know, they take for granted. That is the fact that the Angels are a big market club with the power to draw 3,000,000 fans annually. Those who do not understand the financial motivation of the name change continually say, "just win" and then the money will follow. But it does not work that way, at least not in today's market. You can win now but have a few soft years and the fans are gone and you still have to pay those big fat long-term contracts you signed back in the "good times". There is a long-held bias in LA and around the country that the Angels are the 'stupid red-headed step-child' of the Dodgers. This image has been left to fester too long but at least Moreno has the balls to look at the situation and say "we can do better". The first step comes next year when the Angels have to find a new television partner for the local market. This is the biggest determinate of cash-flow for a baseball team and it is what seperates the Red Sox from the Pirates financially. The big TV revenue packages in New York and Boston allow them the ability to be the highest payrolled teams in the league. Moreno has the third highest payroll because he knows if the team does not win they will never get the big money. But likewise, they must win AND be considered part of a large market. You can not have one without the other or you are the Anaheim Angels all over again. After they win AND establish themselves as part of the entire LA market then they can ask for and receive the bigger TV contracts because then the local channels can sell premium commercial time to Ford, GM, George Foreman Grills and whoever else is looking for a large market to advertise to. As Angel fans already know, they already are in that market and already deserve the money. But what does Channel 9 do? They punk them by offering $5 mil and then giving the Dodgers about twice that. What does Fox Sports do? They put the Angels on the air less then any other MLB team and pays them accordingly. If that smacks of "fair-play" to you then you should be watching the WWE. We'll know soon enough if it works.

If you detest the "of Anaheim" tag then blame the city that is forcing them to stick to that clause. Or better yet, blame the genius' at Disney who had no interest in making the Angels brand bigger but rather, wanted to make public awareness of Anaheim greater. That, they hoped, would increase tourism and bring more people into their theme parks. The Angels were just another attraction so they gladly saddled themselves with the provision that they be called "Anaheim Angels" despite the fact that the geographic affiliation meant the Angels were associated with the smallest market in the country. It was bone-headed of Disney to change their name in the first place and it is pig-headed of the City to force the Angels to add that moniker to their name. They should strike a compromise and re-name Angel Stadium back to "Anaheim Stadium" and let the owner of the Angels do what should be his purchased right: name his own team.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So lets get specific - How is the nonsensical, ridiculous "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" going to create additional revenue for the franchise? Your long winded answer didn't come close.

Building a brand name: Well, the name change has brought deserved ridicule from the NY Times, ESPN, and everywhere in between. Even the Financial Times of London. Hardly a way to build brand recognition. The name change is ridiculous and nonsensical, and has been justly treated that way in the media. Calling yourself LA when you aren't LA makes you look like a wannabe, not a winner. I won't hold my breath waiting for a huge sponsor.

Broadcast Revenues: KCAL obviously knew of Arte's name change plan when Arte was negotiating. They took a pass. Strike one.

So again, where are these stupendous revenues going to come from? The Fox Sports Net deal runs for several more years, and they have Laker games in April and May, and Pac 10 football in September. There are no other over the air broadcasters without prime time network programming in "Los Angeles". Well, there is one. KDOC TV-56. In Orange County.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Ok, I was unable to keep it brief but I think it is simply layed out for you now.

Firstly, you have to buy-in to the Angels ability to sell themselves as "LA". As an established Angel fan you are neither the targeted consumer (they already have you) nor expected to like the new name. In short, the Angels could care less. There is an "acceptable" number of Angel fans who will rebel and not buy tickets or watch the games. They can live with that. But if you can not accept the possibility of people accepting the new name you can stop reading here (but you'd be wrong).

But IF they are able to sell the concept then they will make more money from:
1. TV Revenue - KCAl is as sceptical as you are here in the preseason. We are talking a plan that will take YEARS to establish. If a name change = more money than I would change mine to Barley Flats for $47 and a bag of Cheetos.
2. More TV Revenue -- The Fox contract is years away but that is probably to the Angels advantage. They will try to build a winning team associated with LA in the mean-time and then hit them for more money. There are also a myriad of ways in which the Angels may maket themselves including broadband broadcasts, DirecTV, or other direct marketing ala the YES Network (remember the promise of ESPN West -- F-in Teasers - Die Disney Scum).
3. An "LA" team properly marketed will have national appeal, that means more hats, t-shirts, jerseys, pennants, ticket sales and Rally Monkeys sold.

As far as being a "laughing-stock". Think of it more in terms of "no such thing as bad PR". We are doing exactly what th Angels want, talking about them in January! Not only that, ESPN, Fox Sports, the LA Times, OC Register and the freaking London Times are talking about the Angels in January. Do you know how incredibly difficult that is? I suspect Angel fans will get over this quickly, particularly if the team is in the hunt for most of the season. By the time the All-Star Game rolls around most people will have the new name fully internalized and can enjoy the chants of drunken A's fans on Fox West as they scream "BEAT LA" then they'll fall down and one straggler will yell "of Anaheimmmm". I actually can relate because I despised the name change to "Anaheim Angels". It sounded small-market lame then and it sounds the same today. But you know what? I got use to it and by the time the World Series was over even I was yelling "ANAHEIM FREAKING RULES!"

7:33 PM  
Blogger Uncle Al said...

> They should strike a compromise and re-name Angel
> Stadium back to "Anaheim Stadium" and let the owner
> of the Angels do what should be his purchased right:
> name his own team.

Yesss!!! Rich, I've read your comments, and you've hit the nail on the head so squarely I can't add anything more.

Thirty-nine years ago, when I was but 16, my best friend (a Dodger fan) called me and asked did I know what those "stupid Angels" were doing? He said they were going to call themselves the "California" Angels. "What kind of a stupid name is that?" he taunted. I didn't believe him as I thought it was more razzing on his part.

Only too soon did I find out he was right. On Sept 3, 1965, still tenants of Walter O'Malley at Dodger Stadium (which the Halos always called Chavez Ravine), the Angels unveiled their new moniker and uniforms, tucking their collective tails between their legs and abandoning the greater LA market.

The sad thing was, Gene Autry paid Walter O'Malley BOTH for the territorial rights AND the name "Los Angeles Angels." The Angels' territorial rights, as defined by MLB, includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, and San Bernardino Counties. The whole area, to be shared with the Dodgers.

And, it was only about 2 years ago that an O.C. Register columnist (can't remember which one) proposed renaming the Angels. Not the city name, but the team name. Why? Because, he wrote, the name "Angels" ONLY makes sense with "Los Angeles" in front of it!

FINALLY -- we have our team's correct name back! Thank you, Arte!

7:45 PM  
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