Behind the MLS Ambition Rankings: Portland Timbers
• How much money has your team spent in the past five years on youth development? How much in the past year?
The club has made a significant and annually increasing investment in youth development since joining MLS in 2011. Youth development is a focal point for the club, and it will continue to increase this investment each year with the goal of consistently producing players that contribute to the first team each year from 2020 on. Additional investments include a number of academy staff additions, an extensive training facility buildout to accommodate the growing club, and an increased investment in the club’s youth partnerships across its territory.
• How many homegrown players have you signed? How many have played in MLS league games for your first team?
With a growing Academy now just over three years into its existence, the club has signed two Homegrown Players and has a goal of producing one new Homegrown Player each year who will contribute to the first team from 2020 on.
• Who pays to play on your youth teams? And how much do they pay?
• How many season-ticket holders do you have? How many did you have in 2015?
The club capped season tickets at 15,800 for the 2016 season and has a waiting list of more than 12,000 fans. The club has sold out every regular-season and playoff home game since joining MLS. Same season ticket totals in 2015. The club is actively working with the city to add seats to Providence Park. The Timbers have led the league in season ticket renewal rates every year of their MLS tenure and have set the league’s highest renewal rates in history four times.
• Where does your first team train? Did you build the training facility yourself? If so, how much did it cost?
Club-built Adidas Timbers Training Center, located approximately 10 minutes from Providence Park. The club’s total investment in building and developing the facility to date is more than $7 million.
• Do you have a model for integrating your academy with the first team? How closely do your academy teams resemble the way the first team trains and plays?
There is a definite structure in place for vertical integration throughout the club. With this vertical integration, the club’s youth teams play in a similar style and formation to the first team.
• What’s your philosophy on the use of technology in your training and preparation for matches?
There is a philosophy in place that integrates technology and data into match preparation and overall player development. This information is a key component for training and match preparation.
• Who is your jersey sponsor? What’s your total income on sponsorships this season?
Alaska Airlines. The club doesn’t disclose sponsor revenue but is No. 3 in MLS in total sponsor revenue. The Timbers also were the first team to sell rights to the club’s training gear, to Simple.
• Local TV deal: How many of your games this season are shown on local television? How much is your local TV deal worth per season?
In addition to 15 nationally televised games in 2016, the club’s remaining 19 games will be televised, on ROOT Sports and KPTV FOX 12. These broadcasts feature a 30-minute postgame show, and the club’s broadcast package includes a weekly magazine show on KPTV FOX 12.
• Local radio deal: How many of your games this season are broadcast on local radio? In English? In other languages?
All games on local radio in English and Spanish; weekly two-hour show on flagship radio station.
• How many front-office employees does your team have? How many have you added or subtracted in the past year?
104 full-time employees (e.g. with benefits); up approximately 20 employees from last year.
• Have you hired any additional technical staff over the past year to reduce doubling-up roles? Are you planning on expanding your technical staff in the near future?
Within the last year, the club has added a domestic scouting department and a youth technical director, Larry Sunderland; full-time athletic trainer, equipment manager and strength and conditioning coach added to the growing Academy staff, with further additions to come to accommodate specialization and expansion.