It was another packed house at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., as the defending Major League Soccer champion Portland Timbers kicked off the 2016 season with a 2-1 victory over Columbus Crew SC on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final.
A sold-out crowd of 21,144 fans watched the match, a figure that likely will be announced at every home game this season. With a season-ticket renewal rate at 99 percent and a waiting list for season tickets at 11,000 (according to Timbers President Mike Golub), the discussion of how to expand Providence Park is well underway. The Oregonian reported the Timbers are in the fifth year of a 25-year lease on the city-owned stadium, which had a $40 million-plus renovation earlier this decade.
Oregonian columnist John Canzano explored three different scenarios for how to expand Providence Park, formerly known as JELD-WEN Field and also the home of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Portland Thorns FC. From the Oregonian:
The Timbers contacted a well-known stadium architecture, engineering and planning firm and it's now examining three options: A) an expansion of 1,000-2,000 seats on the south end of the current stadium; B) an extra 5,000-10,000 seats that would include the south and east sides; or C) a complete tear down and stadium rebuild on the same SW Morrison footprint.
Canzano writes the best plan of action for the Timbers is a combination of options A and B that will grow the stadium’s capacity to about 32,000. One idea that likely won’t happen is moving out of downtown Portland for a new 40,000-seat stadium in the suburbs. “We have Wrigley Field-like charm right now, and we don’t want to sacrifice that,” Golub told the newspaper.
In addition to unfurling the MLS championship banner on Sunday, the Timbers unveiled the new Double Post bar at Providence Park. The name refers to the unsuccessful penalty kick attempt by a Sporting Kansas City player in the shootout of last year’s MLS playoffs against the Timbers. The ball hit both posts of the goal.
HOW!?? pic.twitter.com/pHHzHS04qr— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) October 30, 2015