BY MIKE DONOVAN
The Portland Timbers announced Monday that the club will enter a 15-year community partnership with Providence Health & Services which will include a rebranding of the former Jeld-Wen Field as Providence Park.
Providence has been involved as a founding partner with the Timbers since the club’s rise to MLS in 2011. The company is also the kit sponsor of the NWSL’s Portland Thorns FC.
“This partnership signifies a huge commitment to the community from the largest private employer in Oregon, which will keep Providence Park the name of our facility for years to come,” Paulson said.
While the club’s stadium naming rights deal with Jeld-Wen was originally a 12-year deal with an opt-out option after six years starting in 2011, Paulson said that the windows and doors company had let the club know they might want to look for a new stadium partner. Jeld-Wen will, however, remain a corporate partner of the Timbers.
“They made it clear that the time might be right to pass the baton potentially on the naming element,” Paulson said. “They still had several more years on their agreement, they were going to honor their agreement, but when it became that the opportunity would be there to pass that baton but they could stay involved, we moved in that direction.”
While Providence’s name is on both the stadium and the jerseys of the Thorns, Paulson made it clear that he is hopeful that Alaska Airlines will remain on the front of Timbers jerseys after their contract is up this season.
“Alaska is definitely the kit sponsor for 2014, I’m hopeful they will continue to be our kit sponsor afterwards. Their deal is up this year, so we are talking to them about a renewal there,” Paulson said.
In addition to the stadium naming rights, the agreement with Providence also includes the revival of the Oregon Special Olympics Fall Games in 2014.
Providence Park joins Toyota Stadium (FC Dallas) and the StubHub Center (LA Galaxy and Chivas USA) as MLS stadiums to change their names in the last year.