Saturday, February 12, 2005

Someone Help Tommy Lasorda.....Please!

From today's "Morning Briefing" in the LA Times:

Possible solution: Reader Rollo Sternaman offers this suggestion: "Have Anaheim change the name of the city to Los Anaheim and then the Los Anaheim Angels can be referred to as the L.A. Angels. Artie gets the big-city reference and Los Angeles gets the name recognition."

Adds Sternaman: "Pretty smart, eh?"

Well, it might be confusing if there were two Southern California cities known by the initials L.A.

If all the Angels wanted was the "LA" part they could have avoided all of this by moving to Los Alamitos.

From the same briefing there is this, as usual, golden nugget from Tommy Lasorda:

Perplexed: Regarding Angel owner Arte Moreno's desire to use Los Angeles in his team's name, Tom Lasorda recently told XTRA, "I still can't figure out what the guy has on his mind. What is he trying to prove? Someone has to help me on this thing. What's he thinking, that he is going to come in here and get fans?"

More two dimensional thinking from quite possible the least intelligent man to manage a World Series Championship team. Where exactly is Lasorda talking about when he says "come in here"? As if to say there are no Angels fans inside LA County and the Dodgers have exclusive rule over every town north of Seal Beach. In his own backwards way, Lasorda underlines why the Angels changed their name. Not to gain new fans but to recognize that the Angels fandom exists beyond the borders of Orange County. One more time and slowly for Tommy: This is not about fans. This is about getting television revenues that are comparable to what the Dodgers get. With equal fan attendance and ratings the Angels are paid roughly half what the Dodgers are. The Angels contend that there is a built-in bias on the part of advertisers and media types based on the "Anaheim" part of their former moniker. The wisdom of this will be determined in the market-place when the Angels negotiate the TV contract following the next one they sign. There will, probably, be little net affect from the name change before the Angels have to sign their next deal for local television coverage in 2006. But the Fox deal will be redone in 2008 and by then we should have a good idea if the Los Angeles Angels are a more valuable commodity than the Anaheim Angels were.


Blogger Josh said...

The problem as I see it is not that the LA name will matter, is sustained winning. No, the Dodgers haven't done that for awhile now, but they do have a long history of it. If the Angels kept the Anaheim name and kept winning, they would get the same deals as they will changing it to LA. And the margin for error is worse now. If the Angels can't win (for whatever reason) over the next few years, then people will associate the name change AND a bad deal (since they won't be able to increase revenue). If you want an example of a team doing great with a small city name, look no further than the Green Bay Packers, who have a great history and a loyal following throughout the state. The Angels don't have that reputation yet, but that can be built without a name change. If you don't think their current name change is silly, do you think that the Milwaukee Packers of Green Bay would be silly?

7:13 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

As a Packer fan I agree. But the situation in Green Bay is unique in that there is no other football team in Wisconsin. But when the Packers were not winning much they did feel compelled to play 1/2 their games in Milwaukee. Not because they needed to sell tickets at Lambeau where they have ALWAYS sold out (and will continue to do so for generations to come). But the Packers needed to increase TV ratings to help drive more revenue and make the team competitive. In short, the team recognized a need to appeal beyond Green Bay and they recognized that they had to appeal to the big city if they were going to compete with the Brewers and Bucks for advertising dollars.

Your point on winning is well taken though. I think that winning cures all no matter what geographic area a team is associated with. Likewise, losing will kill a team's appeal and by associating with a broader region like LA you risk a glorious nuclear demolition instead of quietly sliding back into obscurity behind the Orange curtain. But that is why I like Moreno, he does not even consider failure an option. He will risk everything to achieve his goal of making the Angels a big market team. As a fan, you have to admire that goal whether or not you agree with the means.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

My point is that Arte is misreading the source of increased revenue, does not understand the psychology of Southern California, and is looking at a higher risk for decreased revenue. Not only that, but the Packers STILL did not change their city name when they played several games in Milwaukee, so they obviously wouldn't now. They understand that it wouldn't help their revenue significantly. Winning does matter, but so does history, and Arte is throwing away the history aspect for the hope that winning will be enough on its own.

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