And It's Seattle Edging Portland, and -OH! - Look Out, Here Comes Vegas Turning Into the Stretch...

...and, with that, I have composed my longest-ever title. Yesss....

If the evil, evil (oh, so profoundly evil) Oregonlive.com did not forbid my registration from taking, I might have stopped by the Timber Blog to see to Bob Kellett, "You monster. You beat me to the punch on this post." But it does, so I didn't...which is why I'm doing it here.

As you may have guessed, Bob Kellett did, in fact, note that, due to the existence of a soccer-ready surface at Seattle's Qwest Field, the Seattle area enjoys an early leg-up in the "qwest" (tee hee hee) to bring a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise to the Pacific Northwest. It takes a certain kind of half-baked thinking to read anything else into the language used by inside-track (only track?) investor, James Keston, when he says, ""I think the best opportunity to play immediately would come playing in Qwest." As such, it would seem Seattle's odds look a lot better - especially when one takes into account Kellett's point about the absence of action among Portland's political leadership.

Then again, the timer just went off on one particular half-baked line of thinking to make a long-shot counter-point to the apparent upside of Qwest. There's a reason why Keston should be wary of the situation in Seattle: Qwest Field could be a trap. Here's the thing: there's a very real risk that a Seattle-based MLS franchise would start play at Qwest Field, only to find the Seattle-area public unwilling to pony up for a soccer-specific facility.

So, the question for MLS and Keston is, what constitutes a bigger headache: the short-term problem of figuring out how, or even whether, to share a facility with two teams and a crappy field (PGE Park), but with (possibly) greater potential for making it their own versus the long-term problem of getting held hostage in a giganto-motherfucker of a stadium by a public whose fists tighten at the thought of spending on sports teams? So long as the equation plays out like that - and, honestly, I have no idea as to whether it does - I'm not sure that Portland looks so bad for a market.

At the same time, given recent developments in las vegas real estate, Nevada (not to mention the noises coming out of the Bay Area), it's possible that Keston will have a little more time than he may want to let events and actions on the ground flesh out a bit more. Promising as a return to the Bay Area is looking lately, the Vegas bid looks like it's coming together big and fast - in a word, like gang-busters. Put another way, given a solid bid on the table from Vegas, Keston has no clear reason to rush into either Pacific Northwest city.

Speaking for myself, I'm getting a little wary of that short dead-line of Keston's...

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6 comments:

Bob said...

Excellent point about the Qwest trap. Presumably a deal would be in place to build a new stadium before the Keston group ever sends a team out to play in front of 10,000 fans in a 70,000-seat stadium. One has to wonder if communities like Reston and Tukwilia are willing to pony up a bundle of money to help build a new stadium. You know Seattle won't after it just spent $1 billion on Qwest/Safeco.

Portland is only a viable option if Portland wants to be viable. At this point I see no excitement or effort coming from anyone in this city.

Vegas on the other hand...$500 million stadium...

pate said...

I know that when I used to live in the Seattle area, there were ongoing rumblings about an SSS in the southern 'burbs (Kent, Renton, and Tukwila). From what I've read, it seems like that might still be the plan.

The Manly Ferry said...

For the record, and the argument forwarded above aside, the point Bob makes above is probably the controlling one. Just a freakin' howdy from Portland's leaders would be something...wonder if Mayor Potter can take his heads out of the visioning clouds long enough to take care of that....

elopingcamel said...

How legally binding are these options? Kenton has one, and so does Lew Wolff. Do these guys automatically get teams as soon as they can figure out stadium situations?
Also, how many options have been sold by the MLS? Anyone know?

The Manly Ferry said...

Hmm. Mr. elopingcamel (great handle by the way) has posed a doozy. Judging by what they're saying to Wolff - and, especially at how coy league officials are being about Vegas (I mean, I've never even seen a comment) - I'd assume it can't be automatic. But between the NW and Vegas bids, not to mention ongoing work in Milwaukee WI, Philadelphia, and St. Louis - to name a few - it's clear that, with only a three-team expansion by 2010 plan, someone in that group has to lose out. And I doubt first-come, first-served is the policy, or I'd say Vegas would be a shoo-in (still might be; that bid sure reads solid). But I can't claim to know any of this for certain.

Jason Prothero said...

What about the Hillsboro option? Seems like they are working hard to get the stadium to be built out there. Plus, they have a good track record of being business friendly.