Portland group led by former Nike exec reportedly pushing for MLB team through relocation or expansion
The group made offers on two different sites to hopefully build an MLB-quality ballpark
Could the Portland, Oregon market support a Major League Baseball team? If the Portland Diamond Group has its say, we'll get to find out in the relatively near future. On Tuesday, the group announced that it had made offers at two different properties. The hope is to secure one and build a 32,000-seat baseball stadium suitable for Major League Bsseball. It's possible this would be for a retractable roof stadium, too.
A big plus here is the group seems ready to self-finance a majority of the project. Forbes.com provides the following details on the group:
The group called Portland Diamond Project is headed by former Nike executive, Craig Cheek. It also sees former Portland Trail Blazer television announcer Mike Barrett as the spokesman, as well as former Oregon State Senator Jason Atkinson, who will act as the group's strategic business director.
Prior reports have declared the group as an "ownership" effort, but that's not accurate. The group was created to facilitate the development of the ballpark, be that for MLB expansion or relocation.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler issued the following statement on the City of Portland webpage:
"It's easy to see why Portland would be an attractive option for Major League Baseball. We're a growing media market with a booming economy and a rich history of local baseball. But any path that leads from today to Opening Day is a long one. My focus continues to be on addressing our city's immediate challenges - creating more housing, helping those experiencing homelessness, and maintaining a safe livable city. It's my belief that city resources should be directed to these priorities. We will continue to watch the Portland Diamond Project proposal as it develops."
Again, though, note that this group isn't asking for public financing at this juncture. It seems like a real possibility that the group can secure land and start building.
From there, though, dig in on the last line I blockquoted above, "be that for MLB expansion or relocation."
Neither of those things are currently on the table but could well be down the road. MLB could conceivably move to 32 teams and if Portland had a brand-new stadium, that would be a strong selling point.
Also, what about the Oakland Athletics? They have been trying for years to find a stadium site in the Bay Area and . The A's could still fit snugly into the AL West in Portland and would even be closer to the Seattle Mariners.
Speaking of the latter, it's always possible there would be some fighting with the Mariners over that territory, so the process would be complicated.
Everything is definitely far down the road, but know this: This Portland Diamond Group looks serious and there's a chance we'll see Portland team in the majors several years down the road.
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