MLS Expansion: The 2011 Twins Revisited

With a fairly quiet day in the world of soccer business, we thought we would revisit the expansion franchises of Vancover and Portland.  While Portland’s stadium efforts have regularly been in the news since the franchise was granted, Vancouver has been well below the radar.  Here are some quick facts about the franchises and the ownership groups behind them:

Jeff Mallet, Greg Kerfoot, Stev Luczo and Steve Nash (yes that Steve Nash), are the men leading the charge to bring MLS to Vancouver in 2011.  The team would play at BC Place Stadium following a renovation and in a Soccer Specific Stadium sometime thereafter.   Vancouver is already home to the Whitecaps of the USL and would add a second Canadian team to MLS.

In Portland, the bid centers on a proposal to upgrade PGE Park, the home of a minor league baseball team and the Portland Timbers of the USL.  There have been some problems emerging in the last couple of weeks about efforts to build/renovate a stadium for the minor league franchise.

The driving force behind the Portland bid is Merritt Paulson, son of the former Secretary of the Treasury.  Paulson initially sought $85 million in public money to support the bid, renovate the stadium and construct infrastructure.  Given the economic climate, and his father’s prominent role in the bailout, there is no small irony in Paulson’s leading the charge for a raft of public money.

Both teams have reported fairly good success in generating early ticket sales and Portland has cleared a number of hurdles in its stadium construction efforts.  In Vancover, the team will have more than one year to get BC Place ready following the Olympics.

We will continue to monitor these two franchises (forever linked) as they move towards the big date in 2011.  We believe both will ultimately succeed.