Portland may soon be home to a second top-tier professional sports franchise. The Portland Timbers, Portland’s minor league soccer team, are making a bid to join Major League Soccer, the highest level level soccer league in the United States. Standing in their way: the Portland City Council, the maneuverings of other cities currently in the running for MLS expansion slots, and the matter of about $85 million dollars.
Here’s how the plan would work: Team owner Merritt Paulson (son of former treasury secretary Henry Paulson) wants to renovate PGE park and build a new home for his other local team, the Triple-A baseball Portland Beavers. (This is where the $85 million comes in handy.) The PGE renovations would give the Timbers a more competitive bid for one of the two MLS expansion teams up for grabs. Portland is up against Miama, Ottowa, St. Louis and Vancouver, BC for the opportunity to join the league in 2011.
What do you think? Should city dollars be spent to help the Timbers join the MLS? What does the city, and the state, have to gain? How much risk is it worth?
Are you a soccer fan? What would having an MLS team mean to you?
- Merritt Paulson: President and owner of the Portland Timbers and the Portland Beavers, CEO of ShortStop, LLC
- Will Glasgow: Executive with ScanlanKemperBard Companies, co-founder and first president of the Oregon Sports Authority
- Steve Maser: Chair of the Task Force on Major League Soccer and Triple-A Baseball, Professor of Public Policy and Public Management at Willamette University’s MBA program
- Mark Rosentraub: Professor of public policy and specialist in sports economics and management at Cleveland State University