SBD/March 4, 2013/Franchises

Timbers' Merritt Paulson Hopes To Fade As Face Of The Franchise

Paulson wants his new coach and players to be the faces of the franchise
MLS Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson said that there is "going to be less talk" from him this season, as the "time has come to step into the background," according to Geoffrey Arnold of the Portland OREGONIAN. Paulson said, "I don't want to be the face of this team. This is a very different team with a new coach, players -- a new style." Arnold noted withdrawal "will not be easy" for the "sometimes mercurial" Paulson. His business success is "partly a result of a fierce work ethic and an in-your-face, but genuine style." If Paulson's success at age 40 "could be traced to one source, it would be his father," former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Merritt Paulson said, "There was an ethic of work and we always had jobs and pretty good discipline. A hard work ethic." Arnold noted Merritt "followed in his father's footsteps by graduating with a master's degree from the Harvard Business School in 2000, but that's where the professional trail ended." He said, "I just didn't want to be in my dad's shadow. I was always interested in entertainment, sports and media. More creative and marketing things. I definitely liked doing my own thing." Paulson "pursued his professional interests by working at HBO and then the NBA, where he helped launch and develop NBA League Pass and market NBA TV." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "I always understood when he was working for the league that he wanted to run his own show at some point. It happened even faster than I would have thought at the time." The Timbers during their first two MLS seasons "have had struggles typical of an expansion team," winning "just three of 34 road games." But it is now "Timbers 2.0." Paulson hired coach Caleb Porter, who has "brought in new players and implemented a new style of play." And Paulson "knows he must step into the background and allow the coach and team to take the spotlight." Paulson: "When we were trying to make MLS a reality, I needed to be the guy out charging and being the face of this thing. Now, this is Caleb Porter's team. Hopefully, the players become more the face of the team" (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/3).
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