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Portland closer to MLS bid after city council approves stadium funding

TimbersLogo    MLS Logo

Portland, here comes MLS.

The Portland City Council voted, 3-2, in favor of a $114 million plan to build a new baseball stadium and renovate PGE Park in order to prepare to be the home of an MLS expansion franchise. The vote was seen as the biggest obstacle standing in the way of Portland's MLS expansion bid.

The vote itself means Portland is looking like a very good bet to be one of the two cities awarded an MLS expansion franchise in 2011.

The process leading up to the vote included an amendment that removed $15 million in government funding from the overall package. It remains unclear how that will affect the project.

Portland city commissioner Dan Saltzman cast the decisive third Yes vote for the measure, drawing cheers from Portland soccer fans at the council meeting in the process.

What do you think of the news? Excited to see Portland in position to join MLS? Still wondering what is going on in St. Louis?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I live in St. Louis, about 3 miles from the Soccer Park. It is a nice facility but far short of what would be required for an MLS team. But it could be fitted quite easily to become a 20K stadium. Besides me being close to it, it actually makes more sense than Collinsville because the soccer base in St. Louis is on the west/south side of the metro area. The Soccer Park is in the heart of the soccer watching population. Also, a St. Louis team would be well supported by the fan base. a great number of people watch and follow it, and it has such history here that the local sports media actually folllow it now, much more than in Seattle where I lived a few years ago. Funny for a baseball town, I know, but people love their sports here.

  2. Portland would be a great MLS city, There is huge support for real football here. A large european population and a great rivalry with Seattle has (in my opinion) potential for good attendances for all the games………JB

  3. I would have to say, although I am from Chicago and would love to see a rivalry build up with St. Louis I don’t think they’re ready. I’d say next time expansion comes calling they shall be the front runners. For the good of the league Vancouver and Portland fit in the best. With strong ownership and stadium ideas,(even though I don’t like B.C. Place) along with some of the best fan bases in the U.S. And as far as the logo it’s a keeper, MLS DON’T TAKE THAT AWAY PLEASE!

  4. …Also, Anheuser-Busch, the league’s only remaining original corporate sponsor, has begun to lobby on behalf of Cooper’s group.

    “We’ve had a dialog and discussion with the league,” said Dan McHugh, vice president of Media, Sponsorship and Activation, Anheuser-Busch Inc. “We’re letting them know our efforts, emphasizing its such a thriving soccer community and that it makes so much sense that a franchise ends up in the North American soccer capital. We’ll do anything Anheuser-Busch can do to not only get that effort, but support that and preserve youth soccer programs within the St. Louis community.”
    St. Louis Post Dispatch

  5. Portland already has a solid base of fan support. Not to mention the City only has the Trailblazers as top tier competition. I think Portland can provide enough local support (with smart and lean management) that the team will be self-sustaining. Rivalry in the NW will be good.

  6. A-B’s attachment to the St. Louis bid is minimal. They gave up a park they probably wanted to give away anyway that only seats 6,000. Being able to expand it to 10,000 doesn’t help the matter and A-B is not giving them financial backing, which is what Garber said they need.

    Adding Vancouver and Portland at the same time makes sense. I doubt either could survive as the sole west coast USL teams. If MLS wants them ever they need to take them now.

    Someone in St. Louis needs to get them a USL team. It’s an easy trade off and we can see how much of a soccer town they really are. I’ve heard rumors of the Miami FC Blues ownership group moving the team to St. Louis since Miami isn’t working. That could be a good thing…

  7. The location of soccer park though in relation to the population center of St. Louis (West County) is a key part that has to be looked at for support. Most of the population that would attend St. Louis Soccer games live there, and Soccer Park is about 45 mintues closer than the Illinois location. This is a huge consideration for potential season ticket holders.

    Everyone talks about natural rivals and regional locations, the midwest and St. Louis are perfect for this. With Chicago and Kansas City as rivals for St. Louis in every other sport, who is to think this will not bleed into this also.

    Finally, everyone talks about the European youth system and how key it is for the MLS to have this also, one over looked part of the AB deal is the partnership the team would have with the nations largest youth soccer club that was formed with Scott Gallagher, St. Louis Soccer Club, and Metro United combined. This new club was named tops by ClubRank.

    All of this should be considered before counting St. Louis out.

    St. Louis Soccer United 2011!!

  8. um, this decision on Portland might need to wait until 2011…from Soccer America:

    If MLS is to approve the Portland expansion bid, it must either grant the franchise assuming the $15 million hole will be filled, or wait until discussions and negotiations complete the funding package. MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche said last week the league might decide to name just one team for the 2011 season – presumably Vancouver – in the near future and wait on selecting a second.

    The other funding sources for the $88.8 million package remain intact. Paulson’s share is more than $24 million, with the renovations for PG&E Park projected to cost $33.69 million and a new baseball stadium pegged at $55.095 million. There are conditions and restrictions by which he guarantees repayment of the loans, and all events at both facilities will incur a 7 percent ticket surcharge to help the repayment process.

    Not until the city council approves a plan that includes the $15 million portion can it enter into a binding agreement. Paulson has pledged $12.5 million and needs to raise another $11.8 million to pay his share of the projects, in addition to forking out the $40 million expansion fee.

  9. Cam, SL already has the funding and a site for a SSS. That is not the problem. The problem has been lack of deep pockets in the ownership group. And for those you that keep insisting that A-B is part of the ownership group, please read the story again. It says nothing of the sort. I’ve been pulling for St.Louis to get a team, but this changes nothing.

  10. move dallas to st louis. give portland and vancouver their teams.

    you get great teams in markes that want them, plus, for dallas fans, driving to st louis for a match is about the same as driving to frisco.

    win, win, win.

  11. So if MLS sticks with conferences, some teams may not end up playing each other during the regular season, or maybe only once.

  12. Scott A-

    not at all, in fact its a very good arguement for keeping the conferences and gives me much to dwell on. I do wonder whether itll ever change as logically every team has to suffer the same amount of flights etc etc (obviously some would be better etc)


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