Monday, October 29, 2007

MLS Expansion - The problem with Portland is the stadium

It would seem that the only thing holding MLS back from giving Portland a team is PGE Park. MLS commissioner Don Garber likes the stadium but says that major changes need to happen to make it work for the league.
"It's hard to accept that you would not be in an optimum facility," Garber said, explaining that Philadelphia is close to approving a $125 million soccer stadium, and other cities have expressed interest. "Years ago, we needed to play wherever we could. Now we're in a position where we can play where we want to play. ... That's a very positive development for the sport."
To make the park an 'optimum facility' Garber says they need to, among other things, install seats along the east side of the stadium, upgraded locker rooms and improve the rest rooms. The problem of course is who is going to pay for such upgrades?

Timbers owner Merritt Paulson is willing to pay the $30 million expansion fee to get a team but does not want to pay for the stadium. PGE Park is owned by the City of Portland, so people will look in their direction, but publicly funded stadium deals are always a sticky situation.

Add what would a stadium situation be without a bit of a time crunch as Paulson says that he does not want to pay more then $30 million for the franchise, meaning that if MLS increases the fee, he says he will walk.

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Blogger fred said...

I'm still all over the idea that if PGE is out (and considering they "rebuilt" the silly thing half a decade ago, I can see this as sticking point) The folks that own the Portland Meadows horsetrack are in a selling mood--sitting on land adjacent to the city's largest soccer field complex (Delta Park East) and with adequate parking facilities, and access from I-5 and light rail...

Of course, no one has jumped in to join me in this venture, so...

6:03 PM  

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