Improve the product, not the venue

The boisterous Timbers Army.

The boisterous Timbers Army.

Uh oh. The Beer Garden has pissed off the Timbers Army! Let me reiterate my point: I don’t care if it’s my money that goes into renovating PGE Park and building a new stadium in the Lents neighborhood or not. I just don’t think it’s a good idea, and that’s nothing against the sport of soccer per se, even though I’m certainly among the majority of Americans in my total ambivalance to the sport. Yeah, the world loves it. The world also loves cricket, and team handball. Should I feel guilty for being excited about the start of the NFL season?

Thousands of Portlanders care about soccer. That’s true. However I don’t believe that 20,000 people will turn out every time the MLS team plays, and that’s what they’d need. Even the Blazers don’t always manage a sellout, and they’re an NBA franchise. The Beavers have drawn poorly, with the Timbers doing even worse in home attendance. Portland State can barely get 8,000 fans at football games, even though the school has 25,000 students.

Maybe it’s the venue, and if so, then maybe this plan makes sense. But maybe it’s the product. And if that’s the case, you could play your games at Qwest Field and it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Improve the product. Then think about getting fans through the doors. Nobody wants to watch minor league sports, which is exactly what MLS is.
Update: Reader Allison Andrews burns me with some sweet attendance info. Check it out.

“Beavers average attendance: 5,607 this year, which is 9th out of 16 teams in the Pacific Coast League.  They averaged 5,478 last year.

Timbers average attendance: 8,249 this year, which is a 21% increase over last year (6,828), which was a 22% increase over the year before.  They are 2nd in the league out of 11 teams this year.”

Thanks, Allison! Great info, something I obviously didn’t take the time to collect. Perhaps this proves my point even better, however. The Timbers are indeed drawing well compared to the other teams in their league, but they are not drawing well enough to support an MLS team, at least in my opinion. The US Open Cup was recently played in front of less than 8,300 people. The sport is not healthy. That’s my main argument for not acquiring an MLS team. Heck, a team might draw well in Portland. Really well. But I don’t have much faith in the health of the league overall. EuroCup sure was fun, though.

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6 responses to “Improve the product, not the venue

  1. Timbers draw poorly? You are bigging fucking idiot than I first thought. You deserve a swift kick in the teeth and a dick punch!

  2. “The Beavers have drawn poorly, with the Timbers doing even worse in home attendance.”

    Beavers average attendance: 5,607 this year, which is 9th out of 16 teams in the Pacific Coast League. They averaged 5,478 last year.

    Timbers average attendance: 8,249 this year, which is a 21% increase over last year (6,828), which was a 22% increase over the year before. They are 2nd in the league out of 11 teams this year.

    Just thought you might want to correct that.

  3. This blog just went into my “favorites” folder in google reader.

    lol just kidding, it sucks.

  4. Come to the North End of PGE tonight, 7PM.

    or

    EADIAF at home

  5. Toronto FC drew under 2,000 fans in USL. Immediately upon going MLS, they’ve sold out every game since (over 20,000 per game).

    Seattle Sounders draw about 3,000 fans in USL. Immediately upon going MLS, they’ve already sold 17,000 season tickets (and growing) and they don’t even play their first game for another 7-8 months.

    Bottom line no. 1: There is obviously no equation that says USL attendance will carry over and be the same as MLS attendance. The fact that the Timbers are getting 8,500/game in USL is great and shows Portland will have no trouble getting huge crowds for MLS.

    Bottom line no. 2: You might want to consider a little research next time to avoid looking so clueless.

  6. Some research would be worth doing… it adds credibility. They teach that kind of stuff in journalism school.

    MLS would be huge draw in PDX and they baseline numbers are there to prove it. When you figure a per capita average on the USL ;eague we look really good. Not to mentin the higher the quality of product ie MLS the more people will want to attend. Why doesn’t the Nike 3v3 B-Ball tournament sellout Rose Garden like attendance numbers.. well because its not the best of the best. MLS would improve the Timbers attendance by <30% on the average.

    Ok Nando put your cleats on.

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