Friday, January 12, 2007
Portland Fans: This is Serious
Here's the good news: Portland has young talented players and the future is bright. Depending what happens in the draft, potentially really bright.
But the ownership end of things remains a pretty solid mess. As far as I know, no one has been able to get the owner publicly on record saying that he intends to keep the team in Portland at all. How basic is that? Can we not have that?
And what will be the solution to the absurd arena ownership mess? Somebody has to unite the arena ownership, at least, if not the arena and the team.
In the meantime, there's at least a chance that Portland could have new business competition on the way. One of the things that has always made Portland such an attractive NBA city is the fact that it's the only game in town. No major league baseball, no NFL football, no NHL hockey. This is the show.
But wow, I just noticed a Phil Rogers story on ESPN.com making it sound like it's only a matter of time before Portland has a baseball team:
With a population of about 2 million, Portland ranks as the 24th largest metro area in the United States. That's ahead of Cincinnati (25), Kansas City (27) and Milwaukee (37) and right behind Pittsburgh (21), Denver (22) and Cleveland (23). Nielsen ranks the Portland market 23rd, up from 24th a year ago (it passed Buffalo), and way ahead of Kansas City (31), Milwaukee (33) and Cincinnati (34).
Perhaps the most appealing thing about the Portland market is that it currently counts the NBA's Trail Blazers as the only franchises from sports' four basic alphabet groups (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB).
According to math by the Portland Baseball Group, only Los Angeles and New York have a higher ratio of population to major sports franchises. San Diego is the only bigger metro area that doesn't have at least three teams, and it has the big two in the NFL and MLB.
A Portland franchise would be positioned to receive civic and corporate support. Adidas, which has its 352,000-square foot headquarters in North Portland, has supported the push to bring an MLB franchise to the city. Nike, based in nearby Beaverton, might join the battle for naming rights to the new ballpark.