Providence Park Reopens To Positive Reviews After Renovations
The newly renovated Providence Park had its "grand re-opening" Saturday for the Timbers match against LAFC, after a series of "additions and upgrades to the east side of the stadium allowed 4,000 more Timbers' faithful to pack the park," according to Chris Burkhardt of NBCSPORTSNORTHWEST.com. Timbers manager Gio Savarese said, "You can feel the difference of those extra 4,000. Not only because they're loud, but that presence, that building that feels like it's on top of you, is fantastic" (NBCSPORTSNORTHWEST.com, 6/2). THE ATHLETIC's Matt Pentz writes the upgrade "will go down among the most visually dramatic changes in the stadium’s near-century of history" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/3). SI.com's Avi Creditor writes the renovated Providence Park "looks absolutely fantastic." The stadium "didn't need refurbishing" to be one of MLS' "most iconic venues, but it is larger and more modern, making for an even greater spectacle than before" (SI.com, 6/3). Timbers and NWSL Portland Thorns Owner Merritt Paulson said, "I can't tell you how proud I am of what we've done here, and we've positioned ourselves to really being relevant at this location long into the future" ("LAFC-Timbers," ESPN2, 6/1).
ICONIC VENUE: Paulson said, "We wanted everything in the stadium to feel new and for it to really feel like a rebirth, not just new seats. To me, if you're going to do it, do it the whole way through, I'd rather not keep adding along the way." He added, "When you go to Atlanta and you see their locker room, you think it's an opportunity to upgrade the Thorn's locker room as well, so everything just snowballs." Paulson added on renovating the Thorns' locker room, "I want to be proud of where our players sort of live and breathe." He said, "We've been a club that's been successful in attracting players, both with the Thorns and the Timbers, by really good word of mouth. ... Our infrastructure in their locker rooms have to be at a certain level and standard, and as the leagues progress, we've got to progress" ("The Bald Faced Truth," OREGONLIVE.com, 5/31).