New Name for MLS Stadium

The Portland Timbers extend partnership with Providence Health & Services

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: February 18, 2014

Signage is already up at the recently-renamed Providence Park in Portland, Ore. (Photo by Portland Timbers)

“It rolls off the tongue quite nicely, doesn’t it?” asked Portland (Ore.) Timbers COO Mike Golub of the new name for the team’s home venue, Providence Park.

For at least the next 15 years, the legion of Portland Timbers fans known as the Timbers Army will occupy what is now known as Providence Park. The new 15-year naming rights deal extended the team’s relationship with Providence Health & Services, the largest private employer in Oregon. The company was already a large corporate partner, having built a 12,000-sq.-ft. sports rehab facility within the stadium open to the public and used by the teams called Providence Sports Care Center.

The naming rights, formerly sponsored by window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen, became available about nine months ago. Jeld-Wen still had a number of years left on their naming rights contract.

“They had been going through some changes in their business and approached the team saying that they’d love to still be partners, but if another company came along that had an interest in naming rights, they’d be interested in restructuring their deal,” said Golub. Jeld-Wen remains a founding partner and one of the largest sponsors.

The Timbers entered Major League Soccer in 2011 and have an average attendance of more than 20,000. Though the first two seasons were a struggle on the field, since the arrival of coach Caleb Porter, the team performance has improved significantly, with the Timbers named the 2013 Western Conference Champions. The Portland Thorns FC, of the National Women’s Soccer League, also began playing at the stadium in 2013 and won the first ever National Women’s Soccer League Championship.

“I think it would be fair to say that when we were first starting out, we thought that this team was going to be a success and were optimistic that everything was going to come together, but everything that has happened in the first few years has exceeded our expectations,” said Golub. “I think that partners like Jeld-Wen and Providence Health & Services who made the gamble and supported us early have really reaped the benefits.”

Providence Health & Services preexisting relationship with the team made for an easy transition to naming rights partner. All negotiations were done internally.

“By virtue of having worked with Providence for so many years, the transition to the stadium deal was easy,” said Golub. “There was a real comfort level of understanding each other as companies, but also as local citizens.”

“They are amazingly community minded and incredibly active in all corners of community work and very philanthropic, which is very much in line with our ethos,” he added.

The naming rights partnership will feature community initiatives, such as the revival of the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Games, which had to abandon programming in 2008 due to the economic downturn. Outreach efforts will also include partnering with youth soccer camps, becoming a founding partner of the Portland Timbers Community Fund, and a presenting partner of ‘Somos Timbers,’ the team’s Hispanic community outreach platform.

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

Though the deal doesn’t include a suite for Providence Health & Services, the company is able to use Providence Sports Care Center to entertain during games, and the team provides tickets directly in front of the center.

The Providence Park logo veers away from the traditional green and gold associated with the Timbers, instead incorporating Providence Health & Services’ blue and orange color scheme

“I’m looking out my window in my office at the signage going up in the stadium bowl and it’s looking great,” said Golub. “We wanted to develop a logo that incorporated their colors, but also got the imagery of the stadium.”

Signage is either already up or in the process of going up around the stadium, and is expected to be complete by Feb. 23, when the Timbers host a preseason match at Providence Park against the San Jose (Calif.) Earthquakes. The first home game of the MLS Regular Season at Providence Park will be March 8 against Philadelphia Union. The team is responsible for the cost of changing signage.

The Providence Park website is already up and running, and the team is working to change signage on the highways.

Interviewed for this story: Mike Golub and Dave Underriner, (503) 553-5415

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: February 18, 2014