Timbers debut gets the money flowing

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
0411_Timbers_06
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson says his team will bring $30 million and 300 jobs to the local economy.
0411_Timbers_07
A massive billboard campaign created by Jelly Helm has generated considerable buzz since it debuted in late 2010. "We didn't know it would be so popular," says Timbers COO Mike Golub.
Forging a connection with the community and making use of local talent is important to the Timbers, from bumping players up from the minor league 2010 team to creating the iconic billboard campaign. Jelly Helm, longtime friend of the Timbers and head of his own creative studio, was retained by the Timbers to help manage marketing efforts. What he brought was the We Are Timbers concept, a literally massive billboard campaign that’s generated plenty of buzz since it debuted in late 2010. “We didn't know it would be so popular,” says Timbers COO Mike Golub. “People identify with it.” When the team offered fans the chance to pose with axes and chainsaws while Helm manned the camera, 1,500 people took them up on the offer, waiting as long as an hour and a half outside the Timbers store downtown.

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.
Fitz-Gerald, who has been with the league since its inception in 1996, admits that every team has a sophomore slump in ticket sales, which the Timbers are anticipating. “The looky-loos are curious, and then they figure out that this doesn't fit into their lives,” says Fitz-Gerald. “Or they think, ‘That was cool, but do I really want to spend $500 to do it again?’” But he notes that with Portland’s four decades of soccer experience, phenomenal fan base, and the work of Timbers COO Mike Golub, “The Timbers may be the ones to break the slump.”



 

More Articles

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Living the dream

News
Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.


Read more...

Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


Read more...

Baby. Boom!

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Store Bought

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Market of Choice is on a tear. In 2012 the 35-year-old Eugene-based grocery chain opened a central kitchen/distribution center in its hometown. The market opened a third Portland store in the Cedar Mill neighborhood this year; a Bend outpost broke ground in March. A fourth Portland location is slated for the inner southeast “LOCA” development, a mixed-use project featuring condos and retail. Revenues in 2014 were $175 million, a double-digit increase over 2013. CEO Rick Wright discusses growth, market trends and how he keeps new “foodie” grocery clerks happy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS