The Angels have scrapped the surcharge slapped on tickets to the most popular games, the latest and most significant price-cutting initiative implemented by new owner Arte Moreno.
In December, the Angels joined the growing number of major league teams charging higher prices for more attractive games, citing the need to raise revenue to help pay escalating salaries. The Angels estimated they could generate an extra $1 million to help support a player payroll that rose to a club-record $76 million.
"Arte's philosophy is different," said Kevin Uhlich, senior vice president of business operations. "He wants to make it affordable for every fan and every family."
The Angels added $5 to each ticket for 20 games, including fireworks nights and games against such prominent opponents as the Dodgers, New York Mets and New York Yankees, although the surcharge did not apply to season tickets and outfield seats. Fans who paid the premium price for tickets to future games can receive a $5 certificate toward the purchase of another ticket.
The Angels have announced a blizzard of other price reductions on tickets -- cut to as low as $5 -- souvenirs, food and drink. A family of four can now buy outfield tickets for midweek games, two adult T-shirts, two caps, four hot dogs, one large popcorn and a one-liter soda bottle for $80, down from $121.
"You'd like to see every seat filled every night," Moreno said.
It is too soon to project whether the price cuts will cost the team money, Uhlich said. If fans respond by buying more tickets and merchandise, the Angels could make up the lost revenue.
Moreno said he is working to add televised games. He deferred questions about baseball operations to General Manager Bill Stoneman but indicated he would not support the acquisition of a high-priced player to aid his struggling team if the Angels had to trade away top prospects.
"I look at things over a very long term," Moreno said. "Any time you become shortsighted, you lose the opportunity to do things long-term."
He also said he is nowhere close to giving up on the season.
"You play 162 games. It's a long season," he said. "We're not even halfway there."
Two executives lost their jobs in the ownership transition from Disney to Moreno, one who had worked for Disney sports teams since the founding of the Mighty Ducks in 1993.
Moreno dismissed Andy Roundtree, vice president of finance and administration, and Bruce Carter, executive counsel. For now, Moreno plans for his longtime financial and legal advisors to work with the Angels.
Roundtree, 49, was one of the original members of the Ducks' front office. His responsibilities expanded to include the Angels in 1996. After Disney split most of the business functions of the teams, he worked primarily with the Angels.
Mickey Callaway began a rehabilitation assignment with triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday. He is likely to make five or six starts for the Stingers, unless the Angels need him as a spot starter or long reliever before then.