|| Print ||
|On the Scene|
|Thursday, March 18, 2010|
It’s been 40 years since the Portland Trail Blazers made their official NBA debut after being purchased for $3.7 million. Decades later, the franchise has powered through several rough patches — from poor seasons to trouble with the law — with its reputation as a beloved Portland brand intact. Now facing the recession, not to mention a wave of injuries, the Trail Blazers are pushing forward and arguably stronger than ever.
Currently in his fifth season at the helm, coach Nate McMillan was among the speakers at a breakfast forum held by the Portland Business Alliance yesterday, along with chief marketing officer Sarah Mensah and senior VP of business affairs J.E. Isaac. In front of a packed room at Portland’s Governor Hotel, the three franchise representatives talked about what’s keeping the Blazers ahead of the sports-business game, and what to expect from a little project called JumpTown.
McMillan spent a good amount of time praising the work ethic of his team, and the Blazers have indeed been playing with a fighting spirit. With Brandon Roy and Greg Oden among the many star players who experienced injuries this year, it’s remarkable that the team has managed to hold up its standing throughout the season. But what’s keeping the brand thriving while other Portland business sectors are still waiting for that rumored recovery?
Mensah says it helped that the brand already experienced its own upheaval when the Blazers’ leadership underwent a wholesale change a few years ago. The learning and adjustments that followed were instrumental in strengthening the brand to help it avoid not only its own implosion, but also the economic crisis that would eventually hit the rest of the business community. “That’s been a long-term process,” Mensah says. “The success we’ve seen in the last couple of years is really a demonstration of the work, but the workload started quite a while before this [recession].”
True to its name, the Blazers have made several pioneering business moves to keep the brand moving over the years, keeping a careful eye on factors like secondary markets, technological advancements and social media. “These are all having a tremendous impact, not just on the Trail Blazers, but on sports businesses across the nation,” Mensah says. “We fancy ourselves as trailblazers and we take that charge very seriously. We have a responsibility to be on the cutting edge.”
Among their groundbreaking achievements: The Blazers were one of the first teams to create its own social network and allow fans to interact online. And with the NBA now allowing teams to stream games online, the Blazers were the first team to jump on that opportunity to reach a broader audience, which was welcomed by fans without TV access. “Our movement to streaming was viewed very positively by those folks,” Mensah says. “There are all kinds of technological advances that are really going to take part in shaping the business moving into the future.”
But the brand’s business progression isn’t limited to the team itself. The Blazers’ JumpTown plan is among the more high-profile proposals being considered for redeveloping the Memorial Coliseum and the surround area. Complete with restaurants, clubs, a covered plaza and an interactive Nike museum (along the lines of the Experience Music Project in Seattle), JumpTown is a mixed-use development built on the idea of giving Portland an economic boost, much like the Rose Garden does now, Isaac says. Built 15 years ago, the Blazers’ home arena has generated $61 million for Portland in addition to the 6% ticket tax the city receives from both the Rose Garden and the Memorial Coliseum — with no city money invested for the arena’s development. “It’s been a win-win, and we think we can do it again,” Isaac says.
Kevin Manahan is the online editor for Oregon Business.
|OHSU researchers work on AIDS vaccine|
|Lean in? Not Sabrina Parsons.|
|Oregon agriculture - not just a commodity|
|The cable guy|
|Outside the box|
|WalMart pays legal fees for bribery probe|
|Google ramps up plan to make robots|
|Sales on Cyber Monday reach new heights|
|CNN plans major changes|
|One million new visits to Obamacare website Monday|
|Shanghai teens top international education rankings|
|Los Angeles could ban feeding homeless people|
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
When the Portland-based manufacturing company Glass Alchemy, Ltd. was first nominated for an Oregon State University Austin Family Business Excellence in Family Business award in 2004, husband-and-wife team Henry Grimmett and Susan Webb-Grimmett, were honored and optimistic about their chances of winning.
Some employers have embraced the use of employment arbitration agreements as a way to manage and mitigate the rising costs, risks and liabilities associated with employment-related claims. Historically, employment arbitration agreements require employees to present employment-related claims, such as employment discrimination, wrongful discharge, harassment, or claims for wages or compensation to an arbitrator, in lieu of proceeding to court.
Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
Boly:Welch was founded in 1986 based on a close connection between Diane Boly and Pat Welch. The two had worked together at another recruitment firm and shared certain core values: passion for their work, a sense of humor, a commitment to their community and a desire to create a healthy, nurturing work environment.
Dunn Carney will host its annual Ag Summit on Jan. 10, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville, OR. We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Sherri Noxel, Director of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University College of Business as our Keynote speaker.
The Naa Amerley Palm Education ("NAPE") Foundation recently awarded two more Lane Powell/Lee Nusich Scholarships to deserving students attending institutions of higher learning in Ghana. Including the most recent recipients, a total of 48 scholarships have been awarded to Ghanaian university students since the scholarship foundation started in January 2009.
Unitus Community Credit Union, a Portland-based credit union with more than 80,000 members, has announced the addition of Brian Alfano as Vice President of Member Services. Alfano will provide strategic leadership over Unitus’ member experience to ensure consistency across delivery channels, including branch operations, member support, and products and services.