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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Put that in your parking study

From a Seattle soccer fan site, we get this projection:

Portland have sold 5,000 season ticket deposits and but there is little doubt they will be able to fill every seat of PGE’s intended 24,000 capacity when MLS kicks off in Oregon in 2011.
I'll bet that when it comes time to talk to the PGE Park neighbors about parking, the numbers won't be quite so big.

Meanwhile, Little Lord Paulson offers this refreshing sip of Kool-Aid:

"This is bigger than the Pacific Northwest being the hub of soccer in North America," Paulson said. "This is about soccer finally taking hold in the country. You know, for years people have asked, 'When will the world’s biggest sport finally matter in America? When will all those kids who play soccer actually watch soccer?' And I tell you that that time is now. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of work to do on and off the field. But we’ve hit that tipping point."
Linchpin City! I have no doubt that he'll sell lots of tickets for his "major league" (by U.S. standards) team. But they'll have to have a league to play in, and as a long-term proposition that's quite shaky.

Comments (28)

What else is he going to say? This is the 3rd attempt at a league in 25 years, none of which have succeeded? No team is making money outside of franchise fees? That Seattle's attendance tailed off after the novelty wore off? That the Pacific NW being the hub of anything might not be taking demographics into account? The only thing driving this is about two dozen lonely guy Timbers fans and Randy trying to hang onto what little virility he has left.

You know his father - They wouldn't know truth if they stepped in a pile of it.

The man's out of his mind. A case of his hopes fathering his thoughts. Soccer wont succeed until their is a lot of action on the games, and people in this country do not seem to want to bet on it. Betting is what keeps all those extra eyes on football and basketball games, which keeps the ad revenues coming in. That's what pays the rent. Not the 11 year old that plays soccer at his middle school and would rather stay home playing World of Warcraft than waste an afternoon watching some team.

What soccer fans fail to realize, is that in North America we like games where the teams actually score. The only reason ice hockey has an audience is because in lieu of putting points on the scoreboard, they get in fights.

Also, it really helps if your sport translates well to TV audiences. This was hockey's biggest problem until HDTV took off - you couldn't ever see the freakin puck on a standard NTSC television. Soccer, even on a 1080p display, still looks like ants kicking around an asprin on a snooker table because they have that camera like 14 miles from the stadium in order to capture all the "action" of a 3-hour long 0-0 tie.

I'll stick with college football for my sporting event attending dollars, thanks.

The parking study for PGE Park, dated January 4, 2010, (prepared as part of PGE Park's "good neighbor" agreement) estimates the Timbers will draw an average of 14,000 per MLS match. That's well below the MLS average of 16,300 per match.

But the lowballing started a year ago, when the Soccer Proforma presented to the city's task force projected average ticket sales of 14,000 per MLS match, with only 80% of those ticket holders actually showing up -- resulting in a projected average turnstile attendance of 11,200.

Oh, and by the way, that parking study also pointed out that when 14,400 people showed up for the Timbers' playoff match with Vancouver last year, 62% of those fans drove to the match.

That parking study also pointed out that parking in the surrounding neighborhoods is already near the saturation point (even without soccer) on the days and at the times when soccer matches are usually held.

Parking around the stadium has been at "a saturation point" for fifty years.

I remember a speech kinda like that in the 1970s--soccer was going to be the new big sport! And we had it here!

I believe the reason why soccer hasn't quite taken off in the US is because of a couple of things:

1) What MachineHeadFred stated - scoring. The problem is, soccer fans see the beauty in how the game is played. A 0 - 0 game can be one of the most exciting I've ever seen if there's clever play, great runs, great chances, good on-the-ball play, etc. For the "other sports" fan, that can't be appreciated... in fact, it's boring.

The same kind of argument can be said about baseball: I find it extremely boring. Yet I find soccer incredibly exciting. What's the different between seeing a pitcher throw a baseball to a catcher and a game where the ball is nearly always in play?

2) The MLS level of play. It's absolutely no where near EPL (English Premier League) play. That being said, how many of you all who have ragged on soccer have watched some of the best EPL teams play? It's not like it gets much time on Sportscenter. And you need to wake up early on Saturdays to catch some live games (typically) on FSC.

I think the negativity surrounding soccer has been ingrained in folks; those who like to hate on the game will never give it a second chance. Because it's fun to rag on soccer.

Not everyone who questions the Paulson stadium deal hates soccer. World Cup soccer is kind of fun to watch. Blowing $30 million (most of which is taxpayer money in one form or another) to chop up the stadium and wreck it for baseball is not fun to watch.

"Parking around the stadium has been at "a saturation point" for fifty years. " True statement. I had a friend who lived on Main Street just above the Mult. Athletic Club back in the 70's. When a game was going on the nice quiet west hills neighborhood was turned in to a parking lot. The locals hated it.

Actually, soccer does suck. It's boring to play and worse to watch. Blowings tens of millions in taxpayers dollars to facilitate it really sucks.

I agree, Jack, but I think the majority that do oppose the stadium "upgrade" oppose it because it's being "upgraded" for soccer.

dg - soccer has at least 90 minutes of actual play. Football only really has ~11 minutes of play. How much actual game time miniutes did the Super Bowl have? 14:


In any case, I'll get off the "soccer doesn't suck" pedestal...

Soccer is great to play when you are 7 years old...but then you grow up and want to play real sports. Soccer DOES suck!

Isn't Little Lord Paulson's comment exactly what people were saying in the 70's about the NASL?!

And about the comment that soccer has "90 minutes of actual play." Have you ever actually watched a game? Most of it is just passing around the ball and long kicks going no where.

And about the comment that soccer has "90 minutes of actual play." Have you ever actually watched a game? Most of it is just passing around the ball and long kicks going no where.

Im not a soccer "fan" by any means, (I prefer college football) but I think soccer is more fun to watch than basketball, particularly the NBA.

Let me clarify: spending taxpayer money to facilitate "pro" sports (any of them) sucks. If the big boys want their stadiums, let them build them. Then I don't care if nobody comes.

On soccer: I'm a pretty big sports fan. I played soccer when I was younger. I know lots of people who played. I can only think of one who remains a soccer fan. There's a reason soccer is not more popular in the US - we have better sports to watch. So, there!

Football only really has ~11 minutes of play. How much actual game time miniutes did the Super Bowl have? 14:

You're misapplying a statistic to a fundamental misunderstanding of why people watch football. It's not only for the times when the ball is in play.

In soccer, the ball is in play most of the time, but the majority of that time, *nothing is happening*. Players move into and out of position, then it starts all over again when possession changes. Many suggest that there's about 10 minutes of actual play, with 80 minutes of players simply jogging back and forth around the field.

Just like American football.

A more accurate comparison would be basketball, the #1 sport in the world (nope, it's not soccer). More people play and watch basketball than any other professionalized sport, and it's growing every year.

Not a big soccer fan but it's still more exciting to watch than the snoozefest known as baseball...Nothing induces a nice relaxing nap better than a afternoon baseball game on the tube. All the same though I'd much rather watch a football, basketball or hockey game. Hell, if Portland had an NHL team I'd buy season tickets---unlike the US MLS, pro hockey has world-class talent.

What do this country's major sports, i.e., Football, Basketball, and Baseball, have in common that is not present in soccer that might make those sports far more popular here? Yes, scoring is part of it (I can fairly accurately predict the score of the next soccer match you will see: 1 - 0) But, no I think the real answer is STATISTICS, endless statistics. Which make endless fodder for conversation, betting, comparison of players within and across generations, and material for speculation of all sorts. Soccer does not provide us with that fodder.

Use Smart Park on 4th Ave and hop on the MAX. Easy enough. Been doing it for Timbers, Beavers, and Blazers games for years.

"Use Smart Park on 4th Ave and hop on the MAX. Easy enough. Been doing it for Timbers, Beavers, and Blazers games for years."

The MAX is inconveniently located for a lot of folks in the Metro area..... assuming any of us cared about soccer.

I was referring to those who insist on driving to an event at PGE Park or the Rose Garden and don't want to fight/overpay for parking. Just trying to be constructive.

Anybody want to bet this "Major League Soccer" league DIES within 36 months? Soccer is at best a niche sport in the USA
and won't be going anywhere soon. Most of my grandkids played the sport and none of them has the slightest interest in soccer now. And neither do any of their parents. This is nothing more than an EPIC FINANCIAL FAILURE for the City of Portland.

I am against Paulson getting free money, but most of the people against this won't recognize that we subsidize(d) the Blazers (because they like basketball and not soccer, presumably).

The Rose Garden cost taxpayers 34.5 million dollars:


And the carcass of a Memorial Coliseum costs the city of Portland money to run every year.

And...the Blazers also want money for "Jumptown" -- a suburbia like entertainment district. Yuck.

I doubt MLS will be around in 36 months, then the taxpayers of PDX will be left with a really big bill and paulson will quietly slip out of town...

this is stupidity in it's purest form....

As for the parking - I used to have an office far from the Beavers stadium over in Goose Hollow on Market Street. Even at that distant location, our parking lot got all sorts of unwanted cars anytime there was a big event at PGE Park.

The Rose Quarter cost the taxpayers more than $34.5 Million. You forgot the value of the land which, with the vacated streets, is over 10 city blocks which would be well over $50 Million dollars-especially the value of a 10 contiguous blocks which is very unique for inner-urban Portland.

Also add in all the design, urban planning, administrative costs of the PDC and Portland Planning that was expended to make the Rose Quarter happen. Then there is the interest-bond costs to include; something that PDC and the City always intentionally forgets.

It like a guy saying "my new house I just built cost $300,000". Then you ask him how much his hillside lot cost-"Oh, $200,000". Then "how much did your architectural, engineering, permits cost?"
-"Aahhh, $75,000". The REAL cost...$575K, not including the loan cost, but we'll forget that last cost.

We never get this kind of accounting from PDC or City Hall, or the media.

Can somebody explain why EVERYTHING in this town has to be modeled after something in Europe? Euro-sport, Euro-streetcar, Euro-socialism, Euro-cafes, and on and on and on. I just don't get the fascination we seem to have in Portland with all things European.

STEVE - "That Seattle's attendance tailed off after the novelty wore off?"


The Sounders 2008-2009 average for attendance per match was 30,943.

World Soccer Magazine puts Seattle at #50 worldwide for attendance numbers.

Sophmore slump? Nope. All tickets for the season opener on March 25th and the LA Galaxy on May 8th are sold out. Of the remaining matches(every match), only 1000 tickets, of 35,000 are still available. That was as of a week ago. The Sounders FO has also said that 14,000 tickets have sold for tomorrows pre-season charity match against the Portland Tumblers.

I know it's popular to hate Seattle, but at least get your facts straight in your hating.

Sing loud, sing proud. GO YOU NEEDLES!


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