Team owner Arte Moreno, who bought the Angels from Disney in 2003, has hoped to use the name as part of a larger marketing plan to leverage the entire Los Angeles area, the second largest media market in the country.
"I was trying to create something positive and more inclusive ... which we believed was our legal right to do," Moreno said. "Long term, we're going to have a healthier franchise that can compete."
The case, and ultimately the decision, hinged on the clause in the lease agreement signed by Disney and Anaheim in 1996, which stated the name of the team shall include the name "Anaheim therein."
Moreno's attorneys maintained throughout the trial that regardless of having two geographic names in the title, the new name was not in violation of the contract. In presenting its case, the city argued that although the name "Anaheim Angels" was not specifically stated in the lease, the intent was there.
Anaheim attorneys called on witnesses who testified that the name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" ran counter to "custom and usage" of baseball by using two separate city names. The jury also heard testimony that the city stood to lose as much as $373 million over the life of the agreement that expires in 2029 by not having Anaheim in the title.
Angel attorney Todd Theodora argued those projections were entirely speculative and later contradicted earlier testimony by Disney executives that the idea of two city names was never discussed by calling Larry Murphy, a former Disney executive vice president, who testified that another geographic location was contemplated.
The trial cost the city about $2 million in legal fees.
"We are disappointed, of course, by the jury's decision," said Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, who was unsure if the city would appeal. "We still believe the facts were firmly in our favor."
The Angels point to the $5 million the city as received in revenue sharing in the Moreno era as proof they are working toward mutual benefit.
"We are certainly pleased with the decision by the jury stating that we were not in breach of the existing lease with the city and, in fact, are in compliance with the lease," said team spokesman Tim Mead. "This was a business dispute. We worked through the 2005 season and we've worked on the World Baseball Classic. We just reached a point where we didn't agree."