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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ain't nobody home

As we ponder whether new stadiums for the Paulson family's second-tier sports teams are worth $85 million or more in public funding, let's not lose track of how many people the teams do or don't put in the seats. We've been running photos of the near-empty PGE Park for Beavers weekday night baseball games, discovering that the announced "attendance" is at least 1200 more than the actual "crowd" on those nights. Even if the official numbers are to be believed, interest in minor league baseball in the first month of the season has been anemic, to say the least. Here are the figures:

The Paulson soccer team, the Timbers, has played two home games so far this year. The announced attendance was 6742 and 8549, for an average of 7646 per game. If Paulson gets his new stadiums, the team will upgrade to the next higher level in U.S. pro soccer, the "major" league. Query, however, how many additional fans that would mean. Pro soccer plays only around 17 home games a year.

Comments (17)

PGE Park is a very nice venue for baseball. If you can't draw folks there, why would one think that more people will want to commute out to Lents?

Why would more people show up because it's MLS? I think if Manchester United played Chelsea at PGE Park I would submit that you would have about 8,000 fans packing the park. The MLS is a bush league at best and continues to produce a product that failed to beat such world powers as Ghana at the last World Cup. Our best athletes don't play soccer and that is why we'll never compete. Ghana didn't care that our team grew up being chauffered to practices in $50,000 SUV's and they won't care that a city wants to blow millions for a bush league stadium upgrade. Let them play at Delta Park on Sundays where all the rest of the "has beens" do.

An Oregonian article a couple of days ago confirmed that bankruptcy court is allowing the owner of Portland Meadows to sell that piece of property as well as others throughout the country.

Since he would have to purchase and reconfigure it himself, Parasite Paulson will probably not jump on the opportunity to create baseball or soccer venue in east county.

Like I wrote in the comments on the last Paulson piece:


PORTLAND MEADOWS IS NOT FOR SALE-The Oregonian is not telling you the whole story. Magna Ent. is an OPERATOR, not OWNER of PORTLAND MEADOWS. Magna owns a hair over 20% of the land, with the remaining owners NOT LOOKING TO SELL, some of which have direct horse racing interests.

Stop looking to destroy it, and start looking at utilizing it. It could do some very beautiful things in this city if it were allowed to have slots. You know, those dirty machines that the tribes have, and don't want anyone else to have.

Like OR Senate Bill 779 which would have allowed PM to have an unholy 40 oregon lottery poker machines last month. I mean, 40, WHO CARES? IS THAT A CASINO? All of a sudden Warm Springs and Grande Ronde were very concerned about the morals of the Delta Park area. Let's end the crap and level the playing field a bit. How about regular folks getting some benefit from the casino profits in Oregon state?

I have to point out...early season baseball never pulls fans in the NW. The Mariners are off to a great start and their stadium is half empty right now. There's a reason they call baseball players, "the boys of summer." It's cause that's when their fans show up. These early season numbers are expected and not out of the norm for AAA baseball. It's a little disingenuous to assert that people don't care because the early season numbers aren't high for games occurring in the cold drizzle we've had going on for months.

You could also put 12,000 people in PGE Park, take a photo, and the place would look empty. AAA parks are very successful in other towns very similar to Portland like Salt Lake City.

Why would more people show up because it's MLS?

FYI...Seattle averaged less than 4,000 fans per game in USL. Now that they are in MLS they are averaging over 20,000. Toronto averaged less than 3,000 fans in USL. Their MLS team is selling out all their games.

You could also put 12,000 people in PGE Park, take a photo, and the place would look empty

But not as empty as I've seen posted here on Bojack. Most people can tell the difference between 12,000 and 125.

I would guarantee you that if Chelsea played Manchester United at PGE Park that place would be sold out in no time and the scalpers would make a killing on those tickets. People from all over would go to that game, kinda like I'm going to Baltimore to watch Chelsea play AC Milan this summer and will likely go north to see Chelsea play the Sounders. People will pay to see this teams and will travel great distances because they are the cream of the soccer crop. In fact, I am pretty sure you could sell out PGE Park with those two teams solely with people from the Portland metro area.

Now, whether all of this is relevant to the Timbers is a completely different question.

I would definitely go see Manchester United and Chelsea just as I went to see Pele back in the day. It was so cool seeing the most famous athlete in the world - besides Ali - at Civic Stadium. Just seeing the name on the jersey gave you chills like you were looking at the world stage. The NASL might have had a lot of players near retirement but they had superstars.

I also checked out the MLS product recently and it was a dud, especially since you can now watch world class soccer on TV live - although you have to get up at 8 a.m. some Sundays - which I do.

So how is MLS progressing? Here's a comment from the Sports Business Journal in November of 2008. The piece is called, "MLS attendance, TV viewership numbers slip"

"The league’s mixed results at the gate were mirrored in its performance on TV. MLS games on ESPN2 averaged a 0.2 cable rating for the third consecutive year, but total average viewers per game fell to 253,000 — down from 289,000 viewers in 2007 and 263,000 in 2006."

I read somewhere that the Dallas franchise started huge like Seattle but is coming back to earth once the people got a look at the product.

Let's be real here. You can get a .2 cable rating with a test pattern. Anybody looking at these trends would say this isn't working. The Ponzi scheme part of adding new teams can pump some money in, but the TV contract won't grow with interest like this.

253,000 viewers? There are more people than that just staring at the TV when it's off.

Once again, this is a sideshow argument. I kind of feel a native American pointing out to Columbus that he didn't discover anything. We natives have been here the whole time.

It's clear Jack isn't a baseball fan, at least on a NW baseball fan. The games NEVER fill up until after kids are out of school. The averages will be in the 5,000 to 6,000 fan range year after year. Unlike the Blazers, a day at the park is something a working stiff family can afford. For those of who love the game this is fine. So please stop making this silly point over and over again. I don't want to screw up and have us loose a baseball team too. The worst outcome is for Portland to end up with an MLS team and the(sorry)pathetic NBA team. (I am a college basketball fan. Fewer egos and waaay more interesting.)

The "deal" is insane. This is about Sam and his rich boy buddy. Wrong deal, wrong economy, wrong mayor, wrong time. Leave us baseball fans with out team please.

Here's a question for you.

If the Blazers were to move somewhere else, and an NBDL team were to take its place in Portland--do you think that team would sell out the Garden every night--even if tickets cost a tenth or less (for argument's sake) of what a Blazers' ticket costs?


Major league sports are a significantly greater box office attraction than are minor-league sports, even at the higher ticket prices.

Now--whether or not Paulson should get a dime's worth of public money to upgrade PGE Park to MLS standards, is another question. But just because the lower-division Timbers don't sell out; doesn't mean an MLS version of the team would not.

There are many fans who will gladly pay big money to see major league sports live--but when given the choice between major league sports on TV and minor league sports live; choose the TV.

Looks to me as the same folks that tally the game attendance are the same that count the tons of garbage SOLV collects at the beach.

the cold drizzle we've had going on for months.

The temperatures are listed in the chart. On April 21, when the temperature at game time was 72 degrees and the weather was fine, the paid attendance was 1633 and the real attendance was about 300.

Some day the full story will no doubt come to light. It's completely insane that so much attention and money should be lavished on a private enterprise that benefits only a small number of the citizens of Portland and takes so much City property out of play.

The emphasis from day one has been on what Merritt Paulson wants and not what is best for the City of Portland.

People, he has no interest in any sort of deal that doesn't include major taxpayer subsidy.

Here is the text of the Oregonian article (Section C, Page 8, May 5, 2009):


A Delaware bankruptcy judge Monday granted Magna Entertainment Corp's request for approval of its plan to sell several horse tracks - including one in Portland - and other assets.

The plan approved by Judge Mary Walrath i ncludes Santa Anita Park in California, Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Thistledown in Ohio and Portland Meadows in Oregon, as well as MEC's interest in Lone Star Park in Texas.

Ontario-based Magna, the largest horse track owner in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, saying it was unable to obtain new financing while supporting its existing debt.

The sale plan calls for expressions of interest in any of the racetracks to be submitted by May 27, with definitive bids due by July 31. An auction will be held in New York City on Sept. 8, followed by a court hearing in Delaware three days later.

Magna attorney Brian Rosen noted that the company may seek approval later to sell other assets currently not in the mix, including Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Last week, MEC pulled Pimlico and its other Maryland assets, Laurel Park and a training center in Bowie, from the list of assets to be sold.

Officials with the state of Maryland and city of Baltimore are fighting to keep Pimlico and the Preakness in Baltimore. Attorneys for the state and city said Monday that they reserve the right to object should MEC decide to put Pimlico up for sale. - The Associated Press

From tonight's Beaver Box Score:

Weather: 55 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 5 mph, Varies.
T: 2:37.
Att: 4,057.

Good thing they have the Thursday night beer thing going. The average swells to 3,301.

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