Portland Timbers Providence Park media coverage highlights

February 12, 2014

The Oregonian

Portland Business Journal 

Oregon Live


Catholic Sentinel 

The Oregonian: Providence Park becomes new name of Portland Timbers' stadium
By Geoffrey C. Arnold

The Portland Timbers' home stadium will have a new name going into the 2014 MLS regular season.

The Timbers will play their home games in the newly named Providence Park, team owner Merritt Paulson announced during a news conference Monday afternoon. A new logo for the stadium was also unveiled during the event.

"Providence was there from the get-go with us. They were one of our first founding partners in 2011, when we moved to MLS," Paulson said. "It's a long-standing partnership."

Previously Jeld-Wen Field, the new stadium name is part of what both the Timbers and Providence Health & Services say will be a greatly enhanced integrated partnership. Paulson said the stadium naming rights deal is for 15 years, but he did not reveal financial terms.  

Dave Underriner, chief executive of Providence, said the new name is one of the cornerstones of a number of community events, initiatives and outreach efforts by the Timbers and Providence, including the revival of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games later this year.

"We were looking at how to position Providence differently around health and wellness — not just illness. How do we position Providence around wellness and health?" Underriner said. "Being in the community, this made a lot of sense. This is a great opportunity for us."

The Timbers and Providence have established ties. Providence is the jersey sponsor for the Portland Thorns, the Timbers' sister team that competes in the National Women's Soccer League, and won the inaugural NWSL championship in 2013. The Providence Sports Care Center was constructed as part of the renovations to the stadium in 2010. The center is a 12,000 square-foot facility that treats Timbers and Thorns athletes, as well as members of the community. 

Paulson said talks between the Timbers and Providence started in mid-2013.

"It's a very natural extension of the already deep relationship we have with Providence," Paulson said. "When it became clear to us that maybe the time was right to pass the baton on the naming aspect of this, I really wanted to target a local organization."

A highlight of the upgraded partnership between the Timbers and Providence is the planned return of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games, which has been dormant in Oregon since 2008. The stadium will host the event later this year and also continue to be the home of other events sponsored by Providence.

"This means competition opportunities for thousands of individuals with intellectual disabilities across the state," said Kim Bergstrom, chief development officer of Special Olympics Oregon. "Many of them will get to participate and play right here in this stadium."

Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors had held the naming rights to the stadium since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. Even though the team's deal with the Klamath Falls-based Jeld-Wen had not expired, both the Timbers and Jeld-Wen mutually agreed to end the contract.

"Nobody knew what was going to happen with the Timbers and MLS when it started here in Portland," said Bill Hueffner, vice president of Jeld-Wen. "We saw this as the first really big thing to happen in Oregon in a long time. To be a part of it and help the Timbers out was good for everybody." 

Hueffner said Jeld-Wen will continue to maintain a connection with the team as one of the Founding Partners. 

With Providence now commanding a much greater presence within the organization, the issue of the Timbers jersey sponsor surfaced, particularly with Providence sponsoring the Thorns' jerseys. Alaska Airlines is the current sponsor for Timbers jerseys, but that deal expires after the 2014 season and Paulson said the team is currently in talks to renew the partnership.

"I'm hopeful they'll continue to be our kit sponsor afterwards," Paulson said. "I'm optimistic, but nothing is done."

See Oregonian source article ›

Portland Business Journal 
Providence boss: Timbers naming deal not all about branding 

By Elizabeth Hayes, staff reporter 

It’s not like Providence Health & Services is a secret in Portland. But Oregon’s largest private employer just raised its profile a whole lot more on Monday with its naming rights deal for the Timbers’ home stadium. 

The agreement also includes health and wellness initiatives and events, including revival of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games in 2014, and youth soccer camps. Providence’s involvement with the stadium isn’t new. During recent renovations, it opened a 12,000-square-foot sports medicine clinic.

Providence will also continue as the presenting partner and primary jersey partner of Thorns FC, the defending National Women’s Soccer League champions; its annual Health & Fitness School Days for local youth; and the “Tix for Kids” program, providing tickets for local underprivileged youth to attend Timbers and Thorns home games. 

Dave Underriner, chief executive for Providence in Oregon, answered a few questions about the partnership. 

Portland Business Journal: How did the idea for this partnership come about? 

Dave Underriner: When the opportunity came up and Merritt (Paulson, the Timbers’ president), approached us, it was a natural fit around looking at how together we can promote health and wellness in the community using Providence Park as one of the foundations to make that happen. We felt connected with having a visible component with that and to use our name to do many more things. 

PBJ: Can you disclose the terms, conditions or dollar value? 

Underriner: The dollar amount is confidential. It’s a 15-year agreement. That seems like a long time, but having that stability is very important. The Timbers will build as a team as we build the health of the community. It’s a long-term investment on our part. 

PBJ: Is it also about getting your brand out there? 

Underriner: To be honest, that’s not so much the important part of the agreement. We would not have done this for the branding component only. The opportunity around wellness and focus on health had a lot of value. It’s not so much marketing and naming rights but about creating alliances. 

PBJ: Portland’s only two professional sports venues are now named for health services companies. A coincidence? 

Underriner: It’s a coincidence. I’m not surprised you see health organizations looking at ways to be much more active in promoting health and wellness. It’s a new world for health care and so we think differently about what we do. 

PBJ: Are you a soccer fan? 

Underriner: I have developed myself into a soccer fan. I own season tickets. I’m learning the game.

See PBJ source article ›

Portland Timbers home stadium gets new name before 2014 season – Providence Park 
By Kip Kesgard, community blogger, Oregon Live

While the Portland Timbers players have been busy with pre-season matches and training in Arizona, the organization has been busy back in the Rose City making preparations for the 2014 MLS season. Word of a press conference scheduled for February 10 at the stadium stirred theories amongst the Timbers faithful of potential player movement, possible exhibition opponents for this coming summer, changes In broadcast partners, or updates to the team's corporate sponsorship portfolio throughout social media until the official proceedings took place mid afternoon as the city recovered from this weekend's crazy winter weather. Timbers Owner and Team President Merritt Paulson was joined by executives of JELD-WEN and Providence Health & Services to announce a new foundational agreement that would dramatically alter the future of the team's stadium, including giving the historic venue a brand new name just in time for the upcoming campaign.

The framework of the deal will strengthen the relationship between the Timbers and Providence Health, one of the nine original founding corporate partners of the MLS team since the Timbers joined MLS in 2011. The original agreement led to the creation of the Providence Sports Care Center on the stadium grounds, sponsorship of various health initiatives associated with the team, and an eventual agreement to be the presenting sponsor and primary shirt partner of the Portland Thorns FC. In the February 10 release, Providence and the Timbers will strengthen their accord through various strategic initiatives. Firstly, the stadium will officially be renamed as Providence Park in a landmark 15 year agreement. Secondly, Providence will deepen their commitment to many of the Timbers' various charitable and philanthropic efforts, such as Stand Together, the Timbers Community Fund, and the team's Hispanic outreach platform, Somos Timbers. Thirdly, Providence will continue their support of the Health & Fitness School Days program in conjunction with the Timbers' U23 team during various matches at the park. Finally, Providence will continue their support of "Tix for Kids" which provides tickets to underprivileged youth to attend Timbers and Thorns FC home matches.

The partnership will also provide other signage and promotional benefits for the company that is now Oregon's largest private employer, but there are significant community benefits to reap from this situation. While Providence Park will remain a home for various health and wellness events, such as the Bridge Pedal Wellness Expo and kickoff activities for the Hood to Coast relay, the newly named park will also be one of the home sites for the resurrected Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games. The competition hasn't been staged since 2008, but now, Providence Park will provide more than 600 athletes, 200 coaches, 200 volunteers and countless other fans and supporters an opportunity to compete in various sporting events this fall, including soccer. For a locally based health organization, Providence has shown a great commitment to the community at large, and this newly fostered agreement augments this pledge in new and exciting ways.

JELD-WEN, the inaugural stadium sponsor in the Timbers MLS era, isn't exactly fading into the sunset with this changeover in naming rights. JELD-WEN will remain as a founding sponsor of the Timbers as well as remaining the official window and door provider for MLS and the team, while also continuing support for the Score A Goal, Plant A Tree program. In the three years since being announced as the named sponsor on the stadium, JELD-WEN has been steadfast in their support of the Timbers and look for this relationship to continue to evolve. In the post conference questions, Paulson indicated that he didn't expect the partnership pact to change any plans about stadium expansion or improvements, and signage will be updated as quickly as possible before the season starts. Also, Alaska Airlines, another founding sponsor of the Timbers, will remain the primary kit sponsor for the team through the 2014 season and talks are underway to potentially extend that partnership.

Since moving to Portland in 1989, Providence Park represents the fourth different name attached to the stadium for me, but as with many of the previous incarnations, I've grown to cherish each name for the uniqueness and character that each sponsor brought to the facility. Providence is a big part of the Portland metropolitan area, and reaching such a monumental agreement with the Timbers showcases their continued obligation and support to help the community at large with their health and fitness needs, and what better way to aid that cause but to partner with one of the region's professional sports franchises. I'm rather excited to see where this relationship might go even if there will be points where I use the old facility name, but this update should usher in another wonderful chapter in the history of one of Portland's oldest sporting facilities.

See Oregon Live source article ›

Major League Soccer (MLS) side Portland Timbers have announced a new long-term naming rights agreement for their home stadium with Providence Health & Services.

The 15-year agreement sees Jeld-Wen Field, which plays host to the Timbers as well as the Portland Thorns women’s team and other events, renamed Providence Park. Financial terms were not released.

Providence is a not-for-profit health care provider which operates a state-of-the-art sports care centre located at the southeast corner of the venue. As part of the deal it will have extensive branding, including marquee signage, around the stadium.

Referred to by the club as a ‘deeply integrated community partnership’, the agreement will also see the two parties collaborate on a number of community initiatives, ‘including the revival of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games in 2014, outreach efforts through the Timbers’ Stand Together platform, and partnering on youth soccer camps and field-related projects.’

Providence also becomes a founding partner of the Portland Timbers Community Fund and a presenting partner of the team’s Hispanic community outreach platform, ‘Somos Timbers’.

“Just like Providence, the Timbers and Thorns have a proven track record of giving back to the community,” said Dave Underriner, the chief executive for Providence in Oregon.

“Together, we’ll bring the spirit of the people of Providence alongside the Timbers and Thorns to reach out to the community in new and exciting ways.”

Additional terms of the deal see Providence continue as the presenting partner and primary jersey partner of the Thorns, who are the defending National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions.

Merritt Paulson, the president of the Timbers, welcomed Providence’s “huge commitment to the community” and thanked previous naming rights partner Jeld-Wen for their “past and continued significant commitment” to the team.

The windows and doors company became the Timbers’ naming rights partner in 2011 ahead of their first season in MLS and will continue to serve as one of the team’s founding partners.

See Goal.com source article ›

Catholic Sentinel: Now, it's Providence Park

A Catholic health system has purchased naming rights for the home of Portland's professional soccer clubs. The Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League now will play in religiously-named Providence Park.

“We were honored when the Timbers approached us about expanding our partnership,” says Dave Underriner, chief executive for Providence Health and Services in Oregon, a ministry founded in the 1850s by the Sisters of Providence. “The Timbers, like Providence, have a proven track record of giving back to our communities. Together, we look forward to making a difference.”

Since 2011, the stadium has been called Jeld-Wen Field, after an Oregon window manufacturer. Before that, it was PGE Park, sponsored by the region's electric company. For decades before, the sports venue just west of downtown was called Civic stadium. The deal will keep the new name in place for at least 15 years. 

The soccer clubs and Providence, the region's largest private employer, announced a set of initiatives that go along with the new name. The park will host the revived Special Olympics Fall Games this year. 

“I would like to say thank you to my friend Timber Joey and to Providence,” says Dony Knight, a Special Olympics athlete who is looking forward to the return of the Fall games. 

Providence will become a partner in “Somos Timbers,” the team’s outreach to Hispanic communities that includes leadership events for students, soccer clinics and heritage celebrations. The non-profit health system also will give major support to the Portland Timbers Community Fund, which awarded $120,000 to youth-focused nonprofit organizations in 2013. The health system also will back youth soccer camps and field-restoration projects across the region. 

“This partnership signifies a huge commitment to the community,” said Merritt Paulson, president of the Timbers. 

Providence has made the link between soccer and good health. 

“Every Timbers event is a teachable moment to encourage fitness and wellness at any age,” says Dr. James Beckerman, a cardiologist who works for both Providence and the Timbers. “Standing together, with the Timbers, we look forward to inspiring the people in our communities to be more active, lead healthier lives and have fun.”
Providence Park will serve as home to health and wellness events, including a bike ride over the city's bridges, a health expo and the kickoff of a relay run from Mount Hood to the Pacific Coast.

Providence has partnered with the Timbers since 2010 and last year became the Thorns' primary jersey sponsor. Renovations of the stadium included a 12,000 square foot sports medicine clinic on site. 

Underriner says the new naming deal has no link to last year's name change to the Portland Trailblazers' NBA court, which is now called the Moda Center, after one of Providence's competitors in health and wellness.  

See Catholic Sentinel source article ›