Examining Portland As A Possible City For MLB Expansion
This is part of a larger feature on possible MLB expansion. To see the full series, click here.
Portland has been part of the MLB expansion/relocation discussion since the early 2000s. This time around they have something they didn’t have before: financial commitments through the Portland Diamond Project spearheaded by former Nike executive Craig Cheek. As of now, Portland is the furthest along of the West Coast markets.
Population (CSA): 3,201,058 (rank: 18)
DMA: 1,180,980 (rank: 22)
Major Pro Teams: Blazers (NBA), Timbers (MLS)
Clubs That Claim Broadcast Market: Mariners, A’s, Giants
Four Businesses of Interest: Nike World Headquarters, adidas North America, Under Armour regional office, Precision Castparts
Organized effort: Portland Diamond Project
Pluses: $1.3 billion in financial commitments that have been shown to politicians in Portland, as well as MLB; agreement in principle on over 40 acres of property along Portland’s Willamette River, with plans to do a much larger development.
Minuses: Time. Cheek and Co. have concerns being able to hold the investors together for more than five years, a real concern if the A’s and Rays take longer than expected to complete their ballparks.
Open Questions: Can the Mariners, and to a lesser extent A’s and Giants, who have broadcast territory to the south, potentially build consensus to block a Portland deal from happening? While $1.3 billion in commitments is nothing to sneeze at, can they continue to pull additional investors in to bridge a potential $700 million gap to fund the ballpark and cover expansion fees?