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By Jerry HicksPublished: April 01, 2010

Founded: 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels
Headquarters: Anaheim

Here’s a brand that’s gone through a few incarnations. The team was born at the old Wrigley Field in Los Angeles as the Los Angeles Angels. The team then spent four years as tenants of the Dodgers at what is now Dodger Stadium. But owner Gene Autry, anxious for his own place, signed a long-term lease with the city of Anaheim in 1966 and changed the team name to the California Angels. The city of Anaheim, delighted to have a team, made no objection to the name.
The Angels were an immediate hit, and they’ve stayed that way – thanks in part to blazing fastball pitcher Nolan Ryan, who came along in 1972.
In 1997, in failing health, Autry sold the team to the Walt Disney Co., which changed the name to the Anaheim Angels, in part
at the request of the city, which had pumped millions into stadium renovations for the honor. But Disney also hoped to piggyback onto the popularity of its own famous resort, Disneyland, just a few long blocks away, boosting the Anaheim name.
The Angels even won the prestigious World Series in 2002. But facing economic struggles, Disney sold the baseball franchise the very next year to Arizona businessman Arte Moreno, who set off a firestorm with city officials by changing the name of the team to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Moreno says it was for marketing purposes.
Did the name change brouhaha hurt?
Not exactly. Despite the fact that the Angels had excited fans by winning the World Series the year before, Moreno’s attendance figures jumped in one year by 750,000 – up to 3 million, where it remains today.
How did Moreno pull it off? He immediately lowered prices on food and beer. Fans preferred those savings to keeping the Anaheim name.
When Tim Mead, vice-president of communications, learned that the team had made Orange County’s 10 Most Trustworthy Brands list, he predicted he knew why: The team’s ability, reaching the playoffs in five of the last six years. He was right, even without seeing the survey.
Ability was the highest ranking of the five trust factors for the Angels. But sincerity also ranked high in the survey. Mead believes that’s because Moreno has proven he cares about the fans – boosting payroll to attract star players, undercutting other clubs on food and beer prices, more special treat nights at the stadium and getting the franchise involved in numerous community causes.
“Arte Moreno knows the Orange County fan is our base,” Mead says. “And he goes out of his way to become involved with them – unlike some owners.”