The owners of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Rose Garden arena have agreed to put the two up for sale jointly, the organizations announced today.
The agreement comes after months of stop-and-go negotiations between Vulcan Inc., the investment firm representing Blazer owner Paul Allen, and Portland Arena Management, the group of financial services companies that owns the Rose Garden. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In a statement, the two sides said simply that they have agreed to "examine ways to maximize the value" of the two entities. Spokesmen for both Vulcan and PAM confirmed that a sale is one of the ways to do that. And Vulcan has already contacted a local investor group led by former Blazer player Terry Porter to let them know the team is for sale, said Rob Kremer, who is working with Porter on that effort.
The team and the arena have been negotiating for months over marketing the two together, recognizing that the two need to be under common ownership in order to be financially viable.
My question is this: if their resolution is to sell the thing, why doesn't the press release just say that? Why this wordplay with "examine ways to maximize the value?" My guess: it's possible that either the arena owner (Portland Arena Management) or team owner (Paul Allen) will end up owning both entities together. There have been plenty of reports that Paul Allen may be reticent about selling.
Either way, this step is great for us Blazer fans. The ownership structure is at least not internally acrimonious anymore. Now we can make fun of Atlanta.
UPDATE: The actual press release. Doesn't clear anything up.