The first Latino majority owner in major North American sports, Arte Moreno purchased the Anaheim Angels from Disney in 2003
Moreno is a native of Tucson, Arizona, and the oldest of 11 children. Moreno graduated from high school in 1965 and was drafted into the United States Army in 1966, fighting in the Vietnam War. After returning to civilian life in 1968, he enrolled in the University of Arizona.
In 1973, Moreno graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing. That same year, he was hired to work at the Eller Outdoor advertising company.
Moreno would travel across the country for the next seven years, Eller Outdoor relocating him several times. However, in 1984, he moved back to Arizona, settling in Phoenix, where he was hired by billboard company Outdoor Systems.
It was while with Outdoor Systems that Moreno was first able to make his mark as a businessman. He rose to become the company's president and chief executive officer, and under his leadership, the company's total profits grew from $500,000 USD to $90 million in less than 10 years.
In 1996, Moreno took Outdoor Systems public. The company's stock soared, and in 1998, Moreno sold the company to Infinity Broadcasting for $8 billion.
With baseball being Moreno's favorite pastime, he applied his business acumen in that arena, as well, purchasing 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 was hungry to own a Major League Baseball (MLB) team. He attempted to buy controlling interest in his homestate's Arizona Diamondbacks, however 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.
In April 2003, it was announced that Moreno had reached a deal with The Walt Disney Company to purchase the team for $180 million. And, in an historic meeting on May 15 of that year, MLB commissioner Bud Selig announced that the sale of the Angels to Moreno had been approved. 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.
Upon assuming control of the Angels, Moreno cut ticket and beer prices at the stadium, and soon demonstrated a willingness to spend the money necessary to sign premium players, including star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, to improve the team. He also took a "hands-on" approach becoming a regular attendee to the team's home games and periodically leaving his owner's box during games to mingle with and talk to fans in the regular stadium seating areas and concourses. All of these moves proved very popular with the team's fans. In the first year under his ownership, the Angels drew more than 3 million in attendance, 750,000 more than their championship season.
However, Moreno did encounter 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 had taken emotional 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 ridicule nationally. Eventually, the team won the lawsuit filed against it by the city of Anaheim, and whatever displeasure fans felt over the name change has not translated into diminished support for the team, as the Angels' attendance levels have remained well above 2002 numbers.
Aside from the name controversy, Moreno's first few seasons as owner of the Angels have been largely successful. The team has posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time in its history (2007-2009), including winning the American League Western Division championship in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Just prior to the start of the 2006 Major League season, Moreno scored another success in signing a lucrative contract with Fox Sports Net regarding the television broadcast rights for the Angels' regular season games. The 10-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 April 2008, Forbes estimated the franchise value at $500 million, a sixteen percent change in value over one year.
[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
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 St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Washington Redskins football teams), for the Angels it is a tradition started by team founder Gene Autry, who owned 710 KMPC and broadcast the games years.
Moreno and his wife, Carole, married in 1986. They have three children.
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, as Moreno continues to be an ardent supporter of his alma mater.
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" and as particularly dedicated to his family.By WIKI
- Anaheim Angels, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baseball History, Los Angeles Angels, MLB Owner, Vladimir Guerrero