Pending approval from major league owners, the Anaheim Angels. Phoenix businessman Arturo Moreno reached an agreement in principle to buy the World Series champions from Disney for a reported $180 million. If Moreno is approved by 23 of the 30 owners, he will become the first Latino to be a majority owner in any of the four major sports. In 1996 Disney paid $140 million for the Angels, who play home games across the street from Disneyland. That was two years after the release of Angels in the Outfield and three years after Disney founded the NHL's Mighty Ducks on the heels of its kids' movie of that name. The company expected to reap the benefits of cross-promotion. Both of the teams were promoted at Disneyland, and the theme park was promoted at Angels and Ducks games. Yet both clubs have steadily lost money. (The Ducks are also up for sale.) Though the Angels won the 2002 Series and have a midlevel payroll of about $78 million, the club claimed losses of roughly $15 million last year.
In the late 1990s other media conglomerates landed sports teams, believing them important to a diverse entertainment company. News Corp. bought the Dodgers, and Time Warner, SI's parent company, acquired the Braves, Hawks and Thrashers. Now, all those teams are for sale.
Moreno, a 56-year-old Vietnam vet who made nearly a billion dollars in the billboard industry, was a minority investor in the Diamondbacks until 2002 and is a prominent booster of University of Arizona sports. He declined to be interviewed and at press time had not spoken publicly about the purchase.