The stadium of MLS outfit Portland Timbers is proving to be a decent financial bet for the club based on recent figures. The new figures show the city is getting its money back from the Portland Timbers’ stadium. These figures just show that sometimes, history doesn’t repeat itself.
Private investors in conjunction with the city of Portland spent nearly $40 million to renovate what is now Providence Park for minor league baseball and soccer in 2011. As well as infrastructure companies such as Carillion helping to finance some of the deal, club backers, and the local Media Groups put money in.
The deal later turned a disaster, costing investors millions and leaving taxpayers on the hook for $28.5 million in debt. When Timbers owner Merritt Paulson came to City Hall in 2010 seeking $12 million in public money as part of a $31 million renovation of the aging ballpark, some observers wondered if taxpayers were about to get fooled again.
Soccer fans have made sure that didn’t happen. New city numbers show the deal, like the Timbers and Thorns, has been a winner. The city gets base rent of about $1 million, plus 7 percent of ticket sales with a minimum guarantee and an extra bonus if sales exceed that minimum threshold. Figures released by the city in response to a public records request by WW show Paulson has not only made the required payments, but has exceeded his minimum every year, sending the city more money in 2015 than ever before.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, the lone no vote in 2010, applauds the results. Fritz said “I’m very glad to see the prosperity of the Timbers and the Thorns and the enjoyment of Portlanders who attend games. It feels a little like we’ve won on the Roulette at Betfair Casino, as we keep on making good money, and this creates a sustainable environment.”
The renovation elevated the stadium to MLS standards and really enhanced fans experience as the functionality of the venue increased with the introduction of new amenities.