MLS to PDX: Scuttled?

I've sat on the announcement that Merritt Paulson, the son of U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, bought the USL-Division 1 Portland Timbers (along with, as I understand it, a team that plays something called "baseball"), mainly to see if anyone would ask the right people the crucial question: what does this sale mean to the potential attempt to bring a Major League Soccer team to Portland?

I thought perhaps that reporters from two local news organizations would tackle that, but have been so far disappointed with most reports from The Oregonian and the Portland Business Journal. Most of what I'm seeing there are details on how the deal together.

Fortunately, one small corner of The Oregonian, the ever-useful Timbers Blog at least asked the durned question:

"The timing of all this is what I find most intriguing. Abe Alizadeh is unloading his teams just a few weeks after a potential Portland MLS owner surfaced. Would a new owner buy the teams knowing full well that MLS might be coming to put the soccer team out of business? Or is he positioning to get bought out (at least the name) by MLS? Or does he simply want to keep both teams?"


Sadly, no one knows the answer to this one yet; I'm just hopeful at this point that one of The O's reporters thought to ask at the very least.

Still, operating on the assumption - and I think it's a safe one - that the sports-dodging Portland, Oregon market can't support two professional soccer teams, a worrying hint (worrying for me, a confirmed MLS whore, anyway) as to what Paulson has in mind appeared in another, seemingly fluffier, report in the Oregonian:

[Paulson] also intends to meet with Portland officials to discuss extending a lease for the Beavers and Timbers to play at the city-owned PGE Park beyond 2010."


Rut-roh.

Am I really concerned about what division the local team plays in? Not really, no. I'd go regardless, provided money and scheduling - and it's not like MLS pricing will help with affordability. But I'd also be lying if I didn't confess that I'd rather see Red Bull New York come to town instead of the California Victory.

As such, I'm hoping for option #2 in the Timbers' blog list: that Paulson bought the Timbers looking for an MLS buyout.

(########)

4 comments:

Laurie said...

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I really think Portland is the city that deserves an MLS team. You just seem to have more support and better organization there than up here in Seattle.

But on the other... Well, this has the possibility of increasing our chances, doesn't it? And MLS in Seattle would make me happy.

(And let's just totally ignore the fact that our lovely city is COMPLETELY against any new public sports stadium funding after having both Safeco and Qwest shoved down our collective throats. Because that is fact is inconvenient to my purposes.)

DJ Walker said...

What is this "baseball" you speak of?

Anonymous said...

I was at the press conference and this question was asked. His answer was that he was not allowed to answer this question until the sale is official. He then stated that within the next week or two the question will be answered. The Timbers sale is final but the Beavers sale still needs clearance.

I do not understand his reasoning but that is what I have to report.

The Manly Ferry said...

Oh, anonymous, if I could discover your identity, I would make out with you. Wonderful addition. Thanks for taking the trouble to keep us bums informed.