The Market is Ripe

The Portland metropolitan region (population 2.3 million) is the 22nd largest metro area in the country and is the largest in the nation without a Major League Baseball franchise. Portland is by far the largest metro area in the nation with only one major professional sports franchise; the region’s ratio of population to professional sports franchises is behind only New York and Los Angeles. The Sports Business Journal recently ranked the Portland area the third-most-appealing market in the country for a new pro sports franchise, following Los Angeles (NFL) and Philadelphia (MLS).

Respected baseball writer Rob Neyer of recently examined Portland’s potential as a future MLB market. In an analysis of successful MLB markets, Neyer concluded that Portland is a viable home for MLB and “could settle right in with cities like Denver, St. Louis, Cleveland, and San Diego.”

For comparison purposes, Portland’s population and corporate base is equivalent to the Denver area when it acquired its fourth professional sports franchise. With nearly $40 billion in Effective Buying Income, Portland has one of the highest amounts of disposable income per professional sports franchise in the nation. Further, Portland’s Per Capita Income ranks higher than 12 existing MLB markets.

Wondering about the corporate base? The Portland area is home to 355 companies with at least 250 employees; Denver had 340 when it acquired the Colorado Rockies. Portland has 41 companies with at least 1,500 employees and 53 area businesses each generated revenues in excess of $100 million during 2001. The region has become the global hub for the athletic footwear and apparel industry, while maintaining its status as a diversified economic anchor of the West Coast.

Portland, recently named the most livable city in the nation by Money magazine, is also the seventh fastest growing metro area in the country with a growth rate double that of the Washington D.C. area.