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Arturo Moreno
Moreno in 2007
Born (1946-08-14) August 14, 1946 (age 77)
EducationUniversity of Arizona (BS)
Known forCEO of Outdoor Systems; owner of Los Angeles Angels
Parent(s)Mary and Arturo Ricardo Moreno

Arturo "Arte" Moreno (born August 14, 1946) is an American businessman. On May 15, 2003, he became the first Mexican-American to own a major sports team in the United States when he purchased the Anaheim Angels baseball team from the Walt Disney Company. In August 2022, he announced that he would explore a possible sale of the franchise, but in January 2023, he decided not to sell the team.[1]

Early life and education

Moreno was born to a Mexican American family in Tucson, Arizona,[2] the oldest of 11 children of Maria and Arturo Moreno, who immigrated from Mexico.[3] His father ran a small print shop; his grandfather owned Tucson's first Spanish-language newspaper.[3] In 1965, Moreno graduated from high school and in 1966, he was drafted into the United States Army and fought in the Vietnam War. After returning to civilian life in 1968, he enrolled at the University of Arizona where he graduated in 1973 with a degree in marketing.

Career

Advertising background

After school, he was hired to work at Eller Outdoor, an advertising company. He traveled across the country for the next seven years, relocating several times and in 1984, he moved back to Arizona, settling in Phoenix, where he was hired by billboard company Outdoor Systems. In 1984, Moreno and his friend Wally Kelly attempted unsuccessfully to buy the firm from owner William S. Levine. Moreno and Kelly entered into a partnership with Levine, and Moreno later became its president and chief executive officer.

In 1996, Moreno took Outdoor Systems public. The company's stock soared, and in 1998 Outdoor Systems was purchased by Infinity Broadcasting for $8 billion.

Baseball ownership

With baseball being Moreno's favorite pastime, he purchased the Salt Lake Trappers minor league team alongside 17 other investors in 1986. The group owned the team until 1992, and the venture proved to be a resounding financial success.

By 2001, Moreno wished to own a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. He attempted to buy controlling interest in his home state's Arizona Diamondbacks, but no deal could be reached. He nonetheless remained determined to own a Major League team, and soon set his sights on the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels.

It was announced in April 2003 that Moreno had agreed with The Walt Disney Company to purchase the team for $180 million. On May 15, 2003, MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced that the sale of the Angels to Moreno had been approved.[4] One of the first people to congratulate Moreno after the news was Diamondbacks' owner Jerry Colangelo, a personal friend who declared it a good opportunity for Moreno.

Angels owner

Moreno soon demonstrated a willingness to spend the money necessary to sign premium players, including star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero. He also took a hands-on approach, becoming a regular attendee of the team's home games and periodically leaving his owner's box during games to mingle with fans in the regular stadium seating areas and concourses. All of these moves proved very popular with fans. In the first year of his ownership, the Angels drew more than three million fans, 750,000 more than their championship season.[5]

However, Moreno encountered a substantial backlash from fans of the team, and in particular, from the city leadership of Anaheim, California, over his decision in 2005 to change the name of the team from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Moreno saw the change as part of an overall strategy to increase the team's revenue by actively marketing it to, and associating it with, the entire Los Angeles metropolitan area, rather than restricting the team's identity to the city of Anaheim and to Orange County. In recent years, the San Diego Zoo and Los Angeles Times have been notable club sponsors, while all baseball TV rightsholders also use some variation of the team's new name, indicating the effect of Moreno's plan. But the move outraged Anaheim city officials, who responded by suing the team. It also angered a substantial segment of the Angels' fan base in Orange County, who took pride in the team's identity being distinct from Los Angeles. The awkwardness of the of Anaheim suffix, appended to satisfy a contractual requirement for Anaheim to be included in the team's name, also caused the new name to become the subject of national ridicule.[6][7][8] Eventually, the team won the lawsuit filed by the city. Whatever displeasure fans felt over the name change has not translated into diminished support for the team, as attendance levels have remained well above 2002 numbers.

Aside from the name controversy, Moreno's first few seasons as owner of the Angels were largely successful. The team posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time in club history (2007–2009),[9] including winning the American League Western Division championship in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2014 when they finished with a league leading 98 regular season wins. However, the Angels, even with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout at the helm for the team, could not lead them back to the postseason or win a postseason game. From 2010 to 2022, the Angels failed to win a postseason game (the longest gap since their drought from 1987 to 2001) despite a massive deal for Trout for over $400 million and high priced signings of players such as Pujols, Anthony Rendon, Josh Hamilton, and Shohei Ohtani that totaled over $500 million.[10] A losing season in 2022 tied a franchise record of seventh straight losing seasons, matching the mark set from 1971-1977.

Just prior to the start of the 2006 Major League season, Moreno scored another success in signing a lucrative contract with Fox Sports Net for the television broadcast rights for the Angels' regular season games. The ten-year deal significantly increased the team's television revenue. In April 2006, Forbes magazine estimated the team to be worth $368 million—twice the amount Moreno paid for the club only three years earlier; in January 2018 Forbes estimated the franchise value at $1.75 billion.[11]

[Moreno] has really done an amazing job with the franchise. To double the value in three years without getting a new stadium is an incredible feat.

Forbes magazine associate editor Kurt Badenhausen[12]

In October 2020, Moreno, through his company SRB Management, agreed to purchase Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots from the City of Anaheim for $320 million. In May 2022, it was reported that an FBI had conducted a corruption investigation into the dealings of the city and the stadium sale, which led to the resignation of Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu on May 24. In light of the scandal, the Anaheim City Council voted to cancel the sale later that day.

On August 23, 2022, Moreno officially announced that he would explore a possible sale of the Angels franchise. In a public statement, Moreno said that he and his family decided "now is the time" after a "a great deal of thoughtful consideration". The franchise was estimated to be worth $2.2 billion by Forbes in an analysis from March 2022.[13] However, he retracted that statement and committed himself to owning the team, citing "unfinished business".[14]

In his tenure, the Angels had a run of sustained consistency in the mid 2000s that included five American League West championships from 2004 to 2009. After failing to reach the World Series each time, they missed the postseason until 2014, two years after having signed Albert Pujols to a record 10-year deal for $254 million that outbid the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pujols deal is now considered one of the worst deals in free agent history as the career .300 hitter of the time proceeded to hit under .300 in each season before being released in 2021.[15] The Angels won 98 games in 2014 but were swept in the first round by the Kansas City Royals. The next year saw them win 85 games but it also started a spiral for the team. From 2017 to 2023, the Angels have had a losing season and failed to reach the postseason each time, despite the fact that in three of those eight seasons they had an MVP on the roster (Trout won in 2016 and 2019 and Shohei Ohtani, acquired in 2018, won it in 2021). The eight losing seasons, all under Moreno's leadership as owner, is the worst stretch in Angels history, eclipsing the 1971-1977 era.

Other business interests

On February 26, 2006, Moreno led a partnership of buyers to purchase Radio 830 KMXE, the nation's largest Spanish-language AM radio station. For the 2006 and 2007 seasons Radio 830 KMXE served as the Spanish-language radio broadcast outlet for the Angels. On July 17, 2007, the station began broadcasting from new studios located in Angel Stadium. Just before the 2008 season the station became AM830 KLAA (AM) and went all English language, including the Angels game broadcasts. The station has since added morning and afternoon sports talk shows to its lineup.

While it seems a new trend for sports teams to buy their own radio stations (see the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Commanders), for the Angels it is a tradition started by team founder Gene Autry, who owned 710 KMPC and broadcast the games for years.[16]

Personal life

Moreno has been married twice. He has three children.[5]

In 1997, Moreno and his wife established the Moreno Family Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations focusing on youth and education. It also has provided support to the athletic programs at the University of Arizona.

Aside from this, Moreno is vigilant about maintaining his privacy. He refuses most interview requests, and does not discuss his personal life publicly. His family and friends also avoid commenting on his personal life publicly, though off the record, those who know him describe him as "unabashed in his support of Republican politics"[17] and as particularly dedicated to his family.

In September 2020 he endorsed Donald Trump for president, saying "it’s very necessary to vote for President Trump".[18][19]

References

  1. ^ "Angels owner Arte Moreno has started exploring option of selling the team but on January 23rd, 2023 he decided he will not sell the team". LA Times. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  2. ^ Mendez, Davis (March 4, 2013). "Tucson born Moreno among Forbes wealthiest". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Los Angeles Times: "Generosity and work ethic were the gifts that helped turn his son into a billionaire owner" by Sam Farmer Sam Farmer
  4. ^ Mark Boster (May 15, 2003). "Arte Moreno". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Boeck, Greg (February 2, 2004). "Moreno a thorough baseball man". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 17, 2005. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Moore, David Leon (2005-02-23). "City of Angels … and Dodgers". USA Today.
  7. ^ Lennon, David (2005-10-05). "AL DIVISION SERIES, ANGELS NOTEBOOK, What's in a name? Big bucks". Newsday. p. A70.
  8. ^ Shaikin, Bill (2005-01-04). "Angels to Be a Team of 2 Cities". Los Angeles Times. p. A1.
  9. ^ Shalkin, Bill. (2007, February 26). "Moreno keeps pushing and pushing", Los Angeles Times
  10. ^ "Inside the Angels' lost years: Poor decisions, Arte Moreno's influence have club near bottom". Los Angeles Times. 23 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Forbes estimates team value". Forbes. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Shalkin, Bill. (2006, April 21). "Angels Increase in Value Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine", Los Angeles Times
  13. ^ "Angels owner Arte Moreno says he is exploring possible sale of team". ABC7. ESPN. 23 August 2022. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Arte Moreno To Continue Disappointing Angels Fans | Defector". defector.com. January 24, 2023.
  15. ^ "Owners should learn from Pujols' deal". Arkansas Online. May 10, 2021.
  16. ^ (2006, February 6). "Partnership Led by Arte Moreno to Acquire Radio 830 KMXE; Deal to Create Bilingual Format and Expand Sports Broadcasting in Southern California Archived 2009-09-24 at the Wayback Machine", Hispanic PR Wire
  17. ^ Reaves, Joseph A.; Harris, Craig & Higuera, Jonathan J. (April 23, 2003). "Baseball more than business for Moreno". The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  18. ^ Lacques, Gabe; Schad, Tom (September 15, 2020). "Angels owner Arte Moreno says it's 'very necessary' to vote for Donald Trump". USA Today. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  19. ^ Deese, Kaelan (September 15, 2020). "MLB owner: It's 'very necessary' to vote for Trump". USA Today. Retrieved September 20, 2020.