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Disney Deal Faulted, Lauded

April 21, 1996

The recent decision by the Anaheim City Council, which allows the Walt Disney Co. to control the existing stadium use, has effectively eliminated any leverage the city of Anaheim had for attracting a professional football team that would need a venue in which they could immediately begin playing while waiting for a new stadium to be completed.

The control of Sportstown has been retained by the city. However, it has been dramatically reduced, which will also make it less desirable for another sports team because of the smaller potential revenues.

We would like to see the city retain the right to use the existing stadium for professional football, in cooperation with Disney, until a new "football only" stadium could be completed. There could be a deadline of three to four years on this. If another team did not move to Anaheim on a timely basis, Disney could begin the baseball renovations.

We think there is room for both sports, and the question is who will be in control when that occurs? We are of the opinion that if the city does not attract an existing team in 1996-97, the opportunities will decrease significantly as opportunities in other areas become available.

We are urging the City Council to modify the final agreement, which would allow them to retain this control.


President, NFL Booster Club

of Orange County

* If we look back into Orange County's history, a handful of great decisions shape how our county is perceived nationally: Walt Disney's decision to build Disneyland here; Richard Nixon's decision to return to his Orange County birthplace, to live in San Clemente at the Western White House, and later to build his library here; Gene Autry's decision to move the Angels to Anaheim; and the Rev. Robert H. Schuller's decision to build the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove.

To this extraordinary list, we must add Anaheim's decision to facilitate the Walt Disney Co. purchase of the California Angels, to rebuild the Big A and to have our major league baseball team renamed the Anaheim Angels.

In the years and decades ahead, this decision by Anaheim Mayor Tom Daly and the Anaheim City Council will be recognized for its visionary qualities and economic benefits.

So kudos to Daly and council members Lou Lopez and Frank Feldhaus for their leadership. Their decision to keep the Anaheim Angels in Anaheim with the Walt Disney Co. as the team's primary owner is a stroke of genius that should remind us all of other historic decisions which have shaped our county's past, present, and future image. It is great to live in Orange County!


Villa Park

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