MLS Portland Heating Up?

portlandLast week, we  posted about Portland’s efforts to land a Major League Soccer Franchise in 2011.  On Tuesday, Merritt Paulson, the owner of the Portland Timbers and driving force behind the Portland bid, took his pitch to the Oregon Legislature.  Paulson is asking the Legislature to revisit a 2003 bill that would use Major League Baseball player salaries to pay for stadium construction (remember when Portland was chasing an MLB franchise?).

Giving the economic climate, Paulson wisely couched his message in terms of jobs creation.  Because his project includes the renovation of PGE Park and the construction of a new home for his minor league baseball team, Paulson can pitch his project as a two-for-one.

Action is also taking place on the city level, because Paulson is seeking funding on all fronts.  In a remarkable display of chutzpah, Paulson took his argument directly to the people, through a commentary piece in the Oregonian.  In his article, Paulson states that he is seeking $35-38 million from the City to improve PGE Park, and trumpets his willingness to pony up the $40 million franchise fee.  Of Course, it is only a few paragraphs later when he notes the need to build a new home for his baseball team.

As I have stated before, I think Portland would be a great venue for MLS.  With limited competition for sports dollars and media coverage, and a strong repuation as a hotbed for soccer, Portland seems like perfect destination for the League.  The deadline for City action is March 15.  Footiebusiness.com will keep tracking all of the expansion bids.  We of course welcome your comments on the viability of this bid as well.  mls

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3 Responses

  1. I don’t see Portland as a prime contender. St. Louis, Vancouver and then Portland…. if Miami goes forward, they jump the line.

    Portland is just not big time.

  2. [...] go forward as early as March 11.  Additional details of the Portland expansion bid can be found here and [...]

  3. [...] Soccer Business Bits: Portland Stadium Update, DC United Lawsuit Update, and More According to a Tuesday afternoon story in the Oregonian, the revamped PGE Park will have a soccer capacity of about 17k.  Interestingly, this is similar to the current capacity even though the renovation will add about 5,000 seats.  According to the story, 5,000 existing seats will be blocked off for games and used either for advertising or other display purposes.  Because of predictions that 17k will suffice for soccer crowds, this will allow Portland to keep the “worst” seats blocked off, although they will be available for bigger events.  For more on Portland’s stadium efforts, click here. [...]

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