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Volume 20 No. 42
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Markets: Portland

The Timbers Army offers a glimpse of Portland’s fan avidity.
Income profile (annual):
Household median: $63,850
Household, 60th percentile: $78,777
Household, 80th percentile: $121,788
Median, family of four: $92,787
Discretionary, family of four (rank): $24,985 (19th)

MSA population (rank): 2.39 million (23rd)
Since 2010: +7 percent
Major pro team: Trail Blazers, Timbers
Nearest teams: NFL: Seattle Seahawks (174 miles); MLB: Seattle Mariners (174 miles); NHL: Vancouver Canucks (315 miles)
TV teams: Mariners and some Canucks games
TV households (rank): 1.14 million (24th)
Metro GDP (rank): $158.7 billion (20th)
Fortune 1000 HQs (rank): 7 (34th)
Employment profile: The MSA has almost 1.1 million jobs, over-indexing by 75 percent in architecture and engineering, with jobs in management, community and social services, and computers and math all at concentrations at least 25 percent higher than the national average.
Places to play: Moda Center, home to the Trail Blazers, gives Portland an NHL-ready arena. Though the state Legislature passed a $150 million funding proposal for a baseball stadium 12 years ago, the market failed to land a team. The city lost its Class AAA baseball franchise six years ago, when it opted to convert its ballpark to accommodate soccer and football but not to fund a replacement stadium for baseball.
— Bill King


It’s no secret that the NHL would like to balance out its footprint with another team in the West. The question that remains is where.

Like its Northwest neighbor Seattle, Portland has some of the metrics that indicate it could support another team. Its GDP is higher than the three-team median of $135 billion. Its MSA population is within 10 percent of the three-team median and growing rapidly. Income levels are solid. The TV market would be small, but it would add in Seattle, as the Blazers now do. It’s well short on corporate support, but again — Seattle.

With all that said, Portland faces the same glaring shortcoming as many other cities that already host either an NBA or NHL team.

While NBA and NHL markets come in all shapes and sizes, Denver is the only market of fewer than 3.5 million people to host the two sports whose schedules run parallel to each other. At 2.4 million, Portland falls well short of that baseline. Unless it turns as

sports crazy as Denver overnight, it’s a reach to envision Portland filling an arena for both basketball and hockey.

Which brings us to baseball, and the market’s long-running flirtation with it.

It has been a dozen years since Portland made a failed run at the then up-for-grabs Montreal Expos. Even with state money in place, it fell short, beaten out by the nation’s capital. With that money in place, it has since flirted with every ballclub that has been at loggerheads with its own community over stadium funding. Still no deal.

The good news is that, as time has passed, Portland has continued to grow. The MSA is now larger than both Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Five MLB clubs have smaller TV markets than Portland. And there is an argument to be made that the Mariners, who are the only team available for broadcast in 15 U.S. markets, could stand to cede a slice of that territory if Portland can get the rest of its assets in line.