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|Articles - April 2011|
|Wednesday, March 23, 2011|
Page 4 of 4
The Timbers front office felt that outdoor advertising was the most cost-efficient, so they bought a lot of very big billboards. “We bought billboards in a concentrated way,” says Golub. “It feels like we’re everywhere, even though we're not.”
It can be hard to judge the return on investment for billboards like these, but Golub says season ticket sales, jersey sales, social media buzz and corporate partnerships are all important metrics. Website traffic for the Timbers’ site, PortlandTimbers.com, was No. 1 in the league for December 2010 and January 2011, and season ticket sales have nearly sold out two months before the first home game, so the front office is happy with the billboards’ performance.
Some MLS teams, like the Los Angeles Galaxy, have to compete for those jersey sales and billboard spaces with other local sports teams. But like Portland, Salt Lake City has just one other professional sports team, the Utah Jazz, and one fairly new MLS team, Real Salt Lake, which has been part of the league since the 2005 season and won the MLS Cup in 2009. And its metropolitan area has nearly the same number of people living in it as Portland’s metro area: 2.2 million.
In 2008, the team moved from rented college football facilities to the brand-new Rio Tinto Stadium, which is of a similar size to the renovated Jeld-Wen Field, in Sandy, Utah, 25 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. Having permanent digs allowed the team to go from signing single-year sponsorships to inking multi-year deals with a $35,000 minimum for the 2011 season. It’s made a difference for the suburb, too. Hosting the 2009 MLS All-Star game on a Wednesday night brought $3.5 million to local businesses, including restaurants, hotel and shops, according to Trey Fitz-Gerald, director of public affairs and broadcasting.
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