Is PGE Park even a plausible FIFA soccer stadium?

By Peter Apanel of Portland, Oregon. Previously, Peter authored an op-ed for the Oregonian arguing for a brand-new soccer-specific stadium.

Whether you are for or against the proposed Major League Soccer deal that would renovate PGE Park in Portland, there's some interesting news that trumps all of the political and financial controversy that has surrounded the project.

It turns out that FIFA, the international association that governs soccer, including Major League Soccer, has very detailed and objective standards for soccer stadiums, and that there is no way in which PGE Park, even with extensive renovations, would ever be able to meet several of those basic standards.

You can find FIFA's standards at FIFA.com. Click on "About FIFA." Then, "Official Documents." Then "Regulations." And finally, "Football Stadiums: Technical Recommendations and Requirements." (Here's a direct link to the PDF.)

In Chapter 6 ("Spectators"), FIFA states that "seats must be individual." That means over 10,800 such seats in PGE Park would have to be replaced with individual seats. But there's a problem.

FIFA recommends that risers be at least 33.5" deep to give adequate leg room, but the concrete risers supporting those benches in PGE Park fall well short of that measurement.

FIFA also recommends that there be a minimum of 20 toilets and seven sinks per 1,000 women, and 15 toilets/urinals and five sinks per 1,000 men. So, with a capacity of 20,000, and assuming a 50/50 split between men and women, PGE Park would need 350 toilets and 120 sinks. But where would they all fit?

FIFA also recommends that there be one permanent point of sale for food per 200 spectators, with at least three linear feet of counter space per point of sale. That works out to 100 points of sale, and over 300 linear feet of counter space. Where would that all fit?

So, why didn't the city council get this information months ago? And how can the city proceed from this point forward with renovation plans that can't possibly meet FIFA standards, and would result in a sub-standard venue?

Comments

  • Matt (unverified)
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    Peter,

    MLS Stadiums do not need to FIFA-approved to be used for MLS games. In fact, they do not need to be approved for World Cup Qualifiers (the majority of seats at Columbus's stadium are bleachers, and they host the high-profile USA v. Mexico game every four years). The only reason you might need a stadium certified by FIFA is if you want to host an actual World Cup Game, and unless Portland was going to build a 65,000-100,000 seat stadium, we were never going to get a game anyway. There is nothing to be concerned about.

  • GWeiss (unverified)
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    I'm concerned that we have not yet paid for the last round of renovations at PGE Park and now we're evicting the baseball team to run up a whole new round of debt for a soccer league that may or may not survive for 10 years.

  • Dave (unverified)
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    What Matt says above, plus PGE Park has already hosted FIFA Womens World Cup games (1999 and 2003) and a World Cup Qualifier (USA men vs. Costa Rica in 1997); I don't really see the point of the post.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Matt:

    There is nothing to be concerned about.

    Bob T:

    I'm concerned about tax-payer dollars being used by a progressive city council and other elitists for an ego trip while a millionaire team owner laughs all the way to the bank.

    There was a protest a few months ago over the design of the new I-5 bridge. Where was the progressive protest over this sports corporate welfare deal?

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Matt (unverified)
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    Bob:

    Your reason for concern is perfectly valid, and people can agree or disagree on that view. My point is that the concern Peter is raising is nonexistent. And although Peter says, "there's some interesting news [about the stadium requirements]," there's not actually any news. Neither FIFA nor the MLS has ever expressed concern about Portland having to build a FIFA-certified stadium.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    GWeiss:

    I'm concerned that we have not yet paid for the last round of renovations at PGE Park and now we're evicting the baseball team to run up a whole new round of debt for a soccer league that may or may not survive for 10 years.

    Bob T:

    The renovations will extend the seating structure to curve around into left field and center field. If MLS flops all of that will have to be removed in order to make the stadium baseball-ready again, assuming a team will be interested. If the Beavers are in Beaverton by then you can forget it. What a waste. What short memories so many people have, considering the Katz-Sten secret deal with the Glickman group not too long ago and how that worked out. And to think the great left field wooden bleachers were removed for nothing.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Peter Apanel is a staunch critic of anything having to do with a remodel of PGE Park and the inclusion of Portland in MLS. His arguments have consistently made little sense and have been discredited time and time again. His knowledge of anything involving soccer/football is minimal at best and his arguments largely revolve around half truths or outright falsehoods.

    Why anyone other than Jack Bogdanski is giving him a voice is beyond me.

  • (Show?)

    As Matt pointed out, this entire post is a moot point. It is as factually incorrect as a number of the anti-reform conservative talking points that are being circulated in the health care debate. Yet here it is on BlueOregon. Hopefully people will read through the comments lest they become misled and even less informed.

    But luckily it gives trolls yet another opportunity to complain about soccer.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    I've played, coached and been a fan of the beautiful game for over 45 years. The FIFA recommendations are just that - recommendations. The current PGE Park configuration has not stopped Women's World Cup matches, World Cup Qualifiers or friendlies with teams from other leagues internationally.

    The one point brought up is interesting; why if the city were gping to do a wholesale refurbishment wouldn't they renovate to the FIFA recommendations?

  • Peter Apanel (unverified)
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    First of all, there's one error in my article that I reported to Blue Oregon a couple of days ago, but was inadvertently left in. The bench-style seats at PGE Park do have seat backs. But FIFA states that, "Seats must be invidual." So those seats would still have to be removed to meet FIFA standards.

    For those who have already posted comments claiming that FIFA has no authority over the design approval of PGE Park's renovation, that's correct.

    The point I'm making is that FIFA has established standards meant for all stadiums in order to prevent what FIFA describes as the "grossly irresponsible" mistakes that have been made in the past, including mistakes that "compromise safety."

    So, the obvious point is that the length of your legs, the width of your butt, and the size of your bladder doesn't change because you're attending a match in PGE Park, as opposed to a World Cup event.

    And the FIFA standards I've mentioned in my article are all MINIMUM standards.

  • Jon (unverified)
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    @ Peter,

    Since you brought up this topic and apparently think it's an issue...

    1. Please point me to the regulations or analysis that says soccer games at PGE Park would have to even meet FIFA regulations. Here's a hint: there isn't any.

    2. Please point me to the statements from FIFA saying they want Portland to host a World Cup match when these regulations would come into play. Another hint: they haven't.

    This article is a non-issue. It could've been sub-titled: "Woah, how can we possibly approve extending MAX when it doesn't meet Amtrak regulations for cross-country freight?!"

    The financial concerns that Bob and GWeiss bring up are a separate concern and definitely a legitimate issue. But the discussion Peter raises here clearly is not.

  • (Show?)

    Peter-

    Your article is misleading in that it states that FIFA has authority over MLS and the new stadium would not meet it's requirements for an acceptable stadium. People who don't know better might think that a stadium must meet FIFA standards in order for MLS games to be played there, which is unequivocally false. Furthermore, it is misleading when you say:

    The point I'm making is that FIFA has established standards meant for all stadiums in order to prevent what FIFA describes as the "grossly irresponsible" mistakes that have been made in the past, including mistakes that "compromise safety."

    The FIFA handbook about stadium construction which you reference has a section about safety standards, none of which are mentioned in your article. It is laughable that you imply PGE park may not be safe because it doesn't meet FIFA standards, when the only ones you mention are food vendors, sink ratios, bleachers, and leg room.

    You also (dishonestly) imply that this information was somehow hidden from the city council in order to move forward with the PGE renovations, when in fact these standards are a) not at all relevant, and b) freely available on the FIFA website. We aren't trying to build a world class stadium to host World Cup games, nor is there any reason for us to spend the amount of money that would be required to do so. All we need is an MLS stadium and we're going to have a pretty darn nice one.

  • Jim H (unverified)
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    And finally, "Football Stadiums: Technical Recommendations and Requirements."

    ...

    FIFA recommends that ...
    ...
    FIFA also recommends that ...
    ...
    FIFA also recommends that ...

    You do understand the difference between "Recommendations" and "Requirements", right?

  • Adam503 (unverified)
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    Hey Peter,

    If these recommendations were so important, why did FIFA put the 2003 Women's World Cup Quarter and Semi-Finals in PGE Park? This article on FIFA.com seems to suggest FIFA is very happy with PGE Park...

    "Portland venue rolls on new grass (FIFA.com) Friday 26 September 2003

    When Ghana and Australia square off on 28 September for their final Group D match, they will enjoy the luxury of stepping on to a brand new pitch at PGE Park in Portland, Oregon.

    The venue, which is hosting two group quarter-final and semi-final matches, usually features an artificial surface to support events related to baseball, football and American football, but this week the pitch has undergone a transition into the grass surface.

    Grass patches measuring three-by-ten metres, which were grown by a local company for the past six months, have been brought in to cover the turf. A thin layer of tar was then added to help the patches form into one during this week.

    A similar method was used with great success during the last FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999, and the PGE Park, which was known as the Civic Stadium before its renovation in 2001, is the only venue to host matches in both tournaments.

    The success of the previous experiment was especially evidenced when torrential rain put the surface under extreme pressure for the match on 19 June, 1999 between Russia and Japan.

    "It was brilliant to see how our efforts with the grass were rewarded last time we hosted the Women's World Cup," said Brett Lashbrook of the Oregon Sports Authority. "And therefore, we are also extremely confident that the transition of the surface will be a success this time."

    Last time around, the stadium hosted a single match from each of the four groups with an average attendance of almost 19,000 supporters, despite the fact that U.S. Women's National Team did not play there in any of the matches. The atmosphere and excitement underlined Portland's nickname as "Soccer City USA".

    In PGE Park's first three-quarters of a century, it has hosted nearly every event imaginable: Jack Dempsey fights, American football, NASL soccer (Pele played his last game here), baseball, concerts by artists such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Tom Petty, a V-J day prayer and thanksgiving party, the comedy of Bob Hope, a Billy Graham week-long revival, the Rose Festival, and so much more. And yes, in the 1950s, even ski jumping, when a makeshift jump was constructed, towering high above the pitch.

    First, the site was simply called Multnomah Field. Later, it became Multnomah Stadium, and then Civic Stadium. And now following its US $38.5 million renovation its grandeur has returned, in the form of PGE Park...."

    http://www.fifa.com/tournaments/archive/tournament=103/edition=6929/news/newsid=34773.html

    Peter, the only people in the world that ever used the word "grandeur" and PGE Park in the same sentence is FIFA!

    I think FIFA is a far, far more concerned with the fact Portland put an average of 19,000 paying customers in the seats for matches that DID NOT feature the US Women's Team, then every other consideration put together.

  • Chris Olson (unverified)
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    On a slightly different note, why hasn't the Gateway district ever been mentioned as a viable site for a new stadium, be it baseball or soccer? The NE99 max transit station is nearby with max lines intersecting from the 4 Cardinal directions, freeways too. Plus acres and acres of vacant land within an urban renewal district that has thus far worked so-so. Have I mentioned all the vacant land? THis part of the city could use the economic stimulus - like I can't find a coffee shop up there to save my life. Seems like a much better option than the Lents Neighborhood and much better than losing the team to Beaverton.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Someone please wake me when America has its first ever soccer riot willya? In the meanwhile I won't be watching a nil to nil draw.

    Soccer is not worth rioting over in a country with far more interesting things to do than attend a soccer match, hence there are no valid FIFA safety concerns over PGE Park as a venue.

    The biggest stadium riot in this country's history was over disco sucking.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    The bizarre thing is to see the many historic soccer games that were played in PGE Park (cited above) and then to see those people argue, with a straight face, that the MLS ('Mericans Learning Soccer) won't accept a shared stadium.

  • MLSJOKE (unverified)
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    Who cares? This ship has essentially sailed.

    We can revisit this debacle when MLS folds in a few years.

  • Adam503 (unverified)
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    To Boats and all you other soccer haters..

    This is part of ESPN's Bill Simmons (yeah, the Sports Guy Bill Simmons, him) coverage of the USA/Mexico World Cup qualifier in Mexico City last week...

    "I flew down to see our suddenly promising U.S. national team tested by an antagonistic crowd. This wasn't a must-win by any stretch; more of a litmus test. Could the Americans keep momentum going after the team's astonishing performance in the Confederations Cup? Should we start getting legitimately excited about South Africa next summer? Beyond that, what the hell was happening to me? Why was I starting to get hooked by soccer -- a sport I have never totally liked and even actively hated at times? Was this an extremely early midlife crisis? And if so, why soccer of all things? Couldn't it have been a Porsche or an 18-year-old Starbucks barista? Wait, am I saying that out loud?

    The good news? My trip to Mexico quickly morphed into one of those "I'm going to remember everything that happened 40 years from now." I stood on the field at Azteca, grabbed a few strands of grass and put them in my wallet.... Nobody thought the Americans could win for obvious reasons. (You know, like "0-22-1" and "they're better at soccer than us.") But nine minutes in, Donovan created some room for himself at midfield, gained a little speed, then found a streaking Charlie Davies with a gorgeous pass, and ... (wait a second, is this a breakaway?) ... (hold on, can he get a shot off here?) ... gooooooooooooooal!!!!!

    (Hold on, I can't resist.)

    GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have attended all kinds of sporting events: Never have I heard a crowd more stunned than the Mexican crowd after Davies' goal. All traces of sound vanished from the stadium. Like someone pointed a remote control at Azteca and pressed "mute." It was one of those sports moments when you wish they could have stopped the proceedings right there for 20 minutes, just so we could soak in what happened and dream about all the possibilities.

    Estadio Azteca. United States 1, Mexico 0. (Pause.) Hold on, just a little bit longer. One more second. Just let me keep enjoying this...."

    The rest at... http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090817

  • Adam503 (unverified)
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    To MLSJOKE, boats, and the other soccer haters.

    Here's part of ESPN's Bill Simmons (yeah... The Sports Guy Bill Simmons, him) coverage of the US/Mexico World Cup qualifier in Mexico City...

    "...I flew down to see our suddenly promising U.S. national team tested by an antagonistic crowd. This wasn't a must-win by any stretch; more of a litmus test. Could the Americans keep momentum going after the team's astonishing performance in the Confederations Cup? Should we start getting legitimately excited about South Africa next summer? Beyond that, what the hell was happening to me? Why was I starting to get hooked by soccer -- a sport I have never totally liked and even actively hated at times? Was this an extremely early midlife crisis? And if so, why soccer of all things? Couldn't it have been a Porsche or an 18-year-old Starbucks barista? Wait, am I saying that out loud?

    The good news? My trip to Mexico quickly morphed into one of those "I'm going to remember everything that happened 40 years from now." I stood on the field at Azteca, grabbed a few strands of grass and put them in my wallet....Nobody thought the Americans could win for obvious reasons. (You know, like "0-22-1" and "they're better at soccer than us.") But nine minutes in, Donovan created some room for himself at midfield, gained a little speed, then found a streaking Charlie Davies with a gorgeous pass, and ... (wait a second, is this a breakaway?) ... (hold on, can he get a shot off here?) ... gooooooooooooooal!!!!!

    (Hold on, I can't resist.)

    GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have attended all kinds of sporting events: Never have I heard a crowd more stunned than the Mexican crowd after Davies' goal. All traces of sound vanished from the stadium. Like someone pointed a remote control at Azteca and pressed "mute." It was one of those sports moments when you wish they could have stopped the proceedings right there for 20 minutes, just so we could soak in what happened and dream about all the possibilities.

    Estadio Azteca. United States 1, Mexico 0. (Pause.) Hold on, just a little bit longer. One more second. Just let me keep enjoying this...."

    More of ESPN's Bill Simmons becoming soccer crazed at...

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/090817

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Azteca ended up being another Win for Mexico. I amnot a soccer hater. I am however a purist when it comes to the game and have some real questions concerning MLS, longevity and the lack of a bargaining position the City has taken with both Merritt Paulson and MLS.

    Fact - attendance is down across the MLS by about 12% - 15%. A few notable teams have attendance drop offs 2009 v 2008 of over 28%. This is more than a blip regarding the current economy. The overall drop off in attendance is in the face of the fabulous season Seattle Sounders have and their HUGE fan support.

    Fact - Television viewership is also down 2009 v 2008. again this is in the face of the great contribution Seattle are making to The Game.

    Fact - EPL has started back up and viewership for those matches half a world away dwarve MLS viewership.

    Fact - MLS needs the renewed rivalry of Portland/Seattle/Vancouver for their struggling league far more than either of those three cities needs MLS.

    Fact - Randy Leonard could have given Sam Adams a backbone while negotiating and failed miserably.

    The MLS would have been ameniable to a shared stadia arrangement for the first 2-3 years. They have allowed this in other venues. Unfortunately Portland city officials decided to bend over and let MLS have their way without quarrel.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    You know, I've never seen a soccer game in my life (don't go nuts--I haven't seen a baseball game either), but I know more about Soccer STADIUMS that I'll ever know about the game, thanks to this whole situation.

    Not saying that is good or bad, but it just suddenly dawned on me and seemd a bit...interesting. The whole PGE/Lents/Memorial Stadium/Beaverton discussion has been a fine spectacle of political theatre--never boring, keep it up!

  • Adam503 (unverified)
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    Kurt Chapman...

    Fact... attendance to ALL sporting event and movies is down, it's a recession. That's what happens to all spending on non-necessities in a recession. Duh.

    Fact... TV ratings are down across the board. It been obvious to lots of people TV is losing viewership across the board to video games, and the internet.

    Fact... MLS TV ratings don't matter. An MLS player is being paid less on average than the average player on a Triple-A baseball roster.

    Kurt, You can't seem to understand there's never going to be a whole Portland Timbers TEAM that makes half what Brandon Roy new contract will pay him a year.

  • Larry K (unverified)
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    Adam503 - I get it that you're a fan, but c'mon, you're not being intellectually honest here. When you make a comparison between Timbers salaries and Brandon Roy, that's silly. There is such a huge chasm between soccer money and NBA money that you can't be serious.

    In regards to your "duh" statement about attendance, I just looked at a few websites, and came up with the following:

    MLB - so far this year - down 4.4% NBA - last year - up 0.5% NFL - last year - down 0.67% NHL - a RECORD 21 million attendance last season.

    So you can see that the recession hasn't impacted those four major sports hardly at all, and certainly nowhere near the 12-15% of soccer (I'm assuming that number is accurate, btw).

    Duh, indeed.

  • Tim (unverified)
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    Actually Larry, you need to do some research: http://www.mls-daily.com/2009/04/2009-mls-attendance-figures.html MLS attendance is only down 4.91% from last year

    But do you seriously believe any of these numbers? We don't know how the NBA counts attendance but I can guarantee that the New Jersey Nets were rarely at an average of 83% capacity. Their numbers really didn't make sense when the news that half the NBA teams were in the red last year came out.

    On a side note, there seems to be a lot of chicken littles on anything related to PGE Park. Aside from this article being just another reason to get people riled up against the timbers, I have news for many of you. MLS will be here as long as there are soccer fans in this country. MLS has survived its lean years already and is built to survive leaner times.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    I am not necessarily a soccer hater, but I find it ridiculous that someone ever thought FIFA riot safety design recommendations will ever need be applied to an American soccer venue. People here just do not care that much about the sport, making any reference to stadia safety nothing more than a hilarious reference by someone who maybe has never seen just how boring a Timbers match can actually be.

    If a first rate soccer stadium in the States needs individual seat backs, the only possible rationale for it would be to prevent accidental head injuries from falling over backwards while asleep.

  • Larry K (unverified)
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    I'll admit that I took the 12-15% MLS number at face value... I said so in my post. But even if it's at 4.9%, that still not comparable with 3 of the other 4 major sports... where the worst one is down 6/10's of 1 percent and the other two are up. MLB is down a comparable amount, however.

    My point is still the same... Def. not a DUH argument in your favor.... :-)

  • Peter Apanel (unverified)
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    For the benefit of Nick Wirth, who posted comments at 9:36 a.m, critizing my article and my follow-up posting, but who obviously didn't read that FIFA document before posting his comments, here's an extended quote from the first paragraph of PDF page 54, in Chapter 6 ("Spectators').

    "The width of the seat is critical for spectator comfort. It may be financially beneficial to maximize the number of spectators in a seating area, but this may compromise safety and is grossly irresponsible. It may also reduce long-term attendance."

    That is typical of what you'll find throughout FIFA's book on soccer stadium standards. It's a well-written and logical guidebook to intelligent stadium design, and it's absolutely relevant to the issues that that the city council will still need to decide on before moving forward with this project.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Peter, the seats at PGE Park already suck. I have Timbers season tickets and attend Beavers games as well. The rows are actually uneven, with some at least 2 inches less leg room than others, seemingly at random. So while I understand your point that we won't be able to meet the FIFA comfort standards, I'm not sure it matters much since we don't today, either. We're spending money to get a refurbished soccer-only stadium with crappy seats. The alternative is not to spend money, keep USL (as long as it survives without any west coast teams), and still have crappy seats. Oh, and there aren't enough bathrooms or concessions, either.

    I get that you don't think this is a good expenditure. But the FIFA comfort standards don't really have much bearing on that point.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Matt:

    Your reason for concern is perfectly valid, and people can agree or disagree on that view. My point is that the concern Peter is raising is nonexistent.

    Bob T:

    Yes, I understood that perfectly well, and I'm sure city council attorneys and Mr. Paulson knew these already. Too bad the requirements are not applicable to all stadiums in the league, for this would keep baseball at PGE Park.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Thanks for the correction. I used figures from mid July, BEFORE the huge attendance hits due to international friendlies with FC Barcelona and Chelsea. Interestingly enough, MLS chose to use averages for each game and team rather than raw figures.

    Still though, when you count almost 335,000 fans who went to Sounders Matches the league is still down almost 5%.

    A intuitive politician would have used knowledge of the intense PNW rivalry to the positive for Portland total. Unfortunately, Leonard, Adams and the rest did not.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Chris Olson:

    like I can't find a coffee shop up there to save my life.

    Bob T:

    Well, there is a Starbucks right there on Halsey and 102nd. I don't go to Starbucks myself -- not because they are anti-2nd Amendment (I'm not into boycotts), but because their regular coffee isn't all that good.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • (Show?)

    Ummm Peter,

    So the FIFA sanctioned Women's World Cup matches I attended in 2001 and 2003 at PGE Park must have been a figment of my imagination?

    Or the FIFA sanctioned Mens World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica in 1997 at PGE (it as actually Civic then and the seating was way worse pre-remodel) must have really been a figment of my imagination. Tab Ramos scoring that beauty to send us to the 1998 World Cup in the 78th minute must have never happened.

    And don't get me started on how every venue in Central America and Africa and any other developing nation fails these recommendations but somehow, miraculously they manage to have FIFA sanctioned World Cup Qualifiers and friendlies etc. Hell I went to one US - Honduras World Cup Qualifier in a place that generously could be called a stadium and the concept of seats at all was non-existent.

    Are all standards for articles completely gone here on Blue Oregon? 20 seconds on google would blow this thing out of the water. This is a completely non-nonsensical piece that has zero relevance to reality or as Barney Frank says "What planet do you live on most of the time?"

  • Superwonk (unverified)
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    1) Get. Over. It. Good or bad, the MLS to PGE Park deal is done. Over. Move on with your life and find something more important to complain about.

    2) Who cares? FIFA reccomendations have NO bearing whatsoever on our franchise, our success, our plans. None. So, to say this trumps anything is hilarious.

    3) The Kiss of Death: Peter, did you actually read this document in full? On Page 10, it clearly states that the document is meant as a guide full of RECOMMENDATIONS for NEW soccer stadiums. New stadiums that are about to be built. Not old stadiums being remodeled into soccer-only facilities. Nice cherry-picking, though.

    We get it, you're a cranky Portlander who is still sore about a done-deal. But it's over. Move on. And in the meantime, stick to commenting about things you actually know about. Like, wacky parades.

    PS: Since you're establishing yourself as a qualified commentator on public policy in Portland. Please, tell us how long you have been a tax-paying resident.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "MLS Stadiums do not need to FIFA-approved"

    Heck, they don't even have to make sense financially - unless Paulson is going to pony up those 300 new jobs he promised. He's lucky we have the mouth-breather low-forehead types for elected representatives deciding these things.

    "This is a completely non-nonsensical piece"

    Uh, do you 3 soccer nutz have any other response besides shouting louder? You might want to try facts sometimes.

    "His arguments have consistently made little sense"

    At least he has arguments. Every team in MLS outside of Seattle is sinking and we signed on with this backyard league? ANnther winner for Portland.

  • Superwonk (unverified)
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    Steve,

    Why bother posting? In what way did you actually just defend the arguments of the original post?

    You didn't. While claiming the mantle of "facts" your provided none yourself.

    Sad.

  • Tim (unverified)
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    Larry, you avoided the other part of my post, that attendance numbers are a load of garbage when reported through the press.

    http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2008/12/looking-at-nbas-and-nets-history-of.html

    http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/26/nba-set-to-acquire-175-million-line-of-credit/

    Every league fudges numbers, but the most well known for doing it is David Stern and the NBA

    Kurt Chapman, the attendance numbers I provided DO NOT include the friendlies between MLS clubs and international clubs.

  • Larry K (unverified)
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    Tim, I don't disagree with you that attendance figures are routinely bogus... but like you said, EVERY league does it, so my assumption is that the MLS does it too...

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    At least he has arguments. Every team in MLS outside of Seattle is sinking and we signed on with this backyard league? ANnther winner for Portland.

    Actually that's not the case at all. Toronto is doing great, hell...even FC Dallas is profitable. Why? Soccer specific stadiums that they control the revenue streams for. Yes soccer isn't so hot in NY. Red Bull has to pay a ridiculous amount to rent out the Meadowlands, same for DC United. On top of all of that Red Bull is terrible. FC Dallas on the other hand is terrible but they control their stadium and the revenue streams.

    MLS attendance isn't as high...of course they also aren't selling out the Meadowlands when LA is in town just because David Beckham is running around. The thing is they don't need to sell out 60K stadiums. The MLS doesn't "need" the Cascadia rivalry either. Sure it's nice to have but the league will be around without it and would survive without it. The salary structure makes it so the league can make it through lean times.

    The MLS is doing phenomenally well for a league that's only been around for 14 seasons. At 14 seasons the NFL was still a bunch of dudes playing for a few hundred people in mud pits. For 14 seasons people have been saying exactly the same tired things, "soccer is boring, MLS won't be around in 5 years, yadda yadda." Despite this the sport's popularity continues to grow, US players are improving, and all of that can be attributed to the growth of a domestic league started in the wake of the 1994 World Cup.

    Peter Apanel is just a pissed off angry man whose opinion was brushed aside because it was wrong. Now he's throwing out anything hoping something sticks.

  • MLSJOKE (unverified)
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    MLS will not succeed simply because the talent and the level of play is nowhere near "major league" quality. I have a friend who just got back from playing soccer in Europe (not premiere league, but a solid pro league regardless), he refuses to even watch MLS let alone go to a game.

    "If I could be out there playing, which I could, there's no way you can call it MLS."

    The talent level is just not there, and that, among other reasons, is why it will not be solvent long term.

    Commence soccer fans yelling.... NOW!

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "Why bother posting? In what way did you actually just defend the arguments of the original post?"

    There is nothing to defend and it wouldn't do much good. Mr Apanel made a thorough stufy of FIFA rules and stated PGE Park won't meet FIFA requirements no matter how much money is spent.

    After this factual study, most of the opposition spent their column inches lauching personal attacks and sounding like angry 12-year olds, which is about the only thing they have since they have precious few facts in their favor. (BTW - You're right, I should apologice to people who breathe thru their mouths and have low foreheads for comparing them intelectually to council members.)

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Garrett, you are an unapologetic marketeer for MLS. I am a soccer fan who is realistic. I respectfully counter your assertion that, "The MLS is doing phenomenally well for a league that's only been around for 14 seasons." After 14 seasons fewer than 35 of the 14 teams are even seeing a profit. MLS may be eeking by, but that is mostly on overpriced franchise fees doled out to new owners such as Merritt Paulson.

    NASL tried to gain a toehold in North america with the likes of Chinalgia, Pele, Beckenbauer and other over the hill Europeans. They failed due in most part to a lack of credible talent across the league. While Becks isnot washed up - he certainly is beyond his prime. Thierry Henri will be the next to come over the pond to scoop up millions while debating his retirment.

    There are few teams with meaningful talent of the order to mount a respectable challenge to even European teams over here to flex their muscles before the beginning of their ardous campaigns. the is no fear of relegation and therefor some teams will rise to the dubious top of MLS while the remainder founder.

    If MLS are to succeed, listen to the 18-23 year old former men and women players who rose through club and now play on weeknights or weekends. In order to make the game interesting and less the farce it is institute two divisions and allow for relegation.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Kurt, After 14 seasons fewer than 35 of the 14 teams are even seeing a profit.

    Something which is changing as teams acquire their own soccer specific stadiums such as Dallas. Something we'll see next year as NY is able to control its own revenue stream. Something we'll see in the financials this year as Real Salt Lake was able to get out from under their lease in a college stadium they couldn't sell beer in. The value of the franchise has also risen over time and the owners are able to sell their franchise and recoup their investment.

    NASL tried to gain a toehold in North america with the likes of Chinalgia, Pele, Beckenbauer and other over the hill Europeans. They failed due in most part to a lack of credible talent across the league.

    Well...Pele was Brazilian and Chinaglia was hardly over the hill. You also just named 3 NY Cosmos. Which pretty much makes my argument really easy. ONE TEAM DOMINATED THE DOJO. The MLS doesn't have the problems that the NASL had. They don't overspend on players. Perhaps they gave Beckham too much, but I guaranteed they recouped their investment through the sales of jerseys and selling out stadiums for 2 years with people wanting to see him.

    Thierry Henri will be the next to come over the pond to scoop up millions while debating his retirment.,/i>

    Good I'd love to see him play in person. I hope Portland signs him.

    the is no fear of relegation and therefor some teams will rise to the dubious top of MLS while the remainder founder.

    Uhh it's America dude. These owners have invested millions into a team. Why would they stand for promotion/relegation? While I love promotion/relegation it just wouldn't fly in America.

    If MLS are to succeed, listen to the 18-23 year old former men and women players who rose through club and now play on weeknights or weekends.

    Huh? Why would anyone listen to 18-23 year olds?

    In order to make the game interesting and less the farce it is institute two divisions and allow for relegation.

    So instead of just being a Europhile, which you obviously are, why not work with what you have? I love the sport. I'm willing to follow it, support it, and grow it in the US, and maybe one day it will get to a level that is respected around the world. You clearly just want to piss all over US soccer because you don't get to watch Manchester United and Barca duke it out in games that matter at the Rose Bowl. Maybe if every single Euro snob like you pulls their head out, realizes the US is playing competitive football, which is getting better, in 10 years we could be a well respected league. Since I don't like snobbery I'll be happy having it take 20 years minus the snobbery and turning up of the nose because our league doesn't feature the best Europeans.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Garrett, we are both soccer fans. I'm probably just a tad bit older and have seen all of this before. If paying $15/month in order to watch the best in the world play, and calling MLS second rate at best makes me a Europhile, so be it - guilty as charged.

    Meanwhile we shall have to agree to disagree. Peace.

  • WordsOnAPage (unverified)
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    MLS will not succeed simply because the talent and the level of play is nowhere near "major league" quality.

    Yeah, lets go back to NASL days and pay for Messi and Kaka and go broke in two years. Sweet idea!

    I have a friend who just got back from playing soccer in Europe (not premiere league, but a solid pro league regardless), he refuses to even watch MLS let alone go to a game.

    You are right, if we can't match the EPL or Liga then just don't bother. Screw PDL, USL and MLS to develop our players into powerhouses that play in the world's top leagues and have raised our nat team to a serious contender. It's more fun to be snobs.

    The talent level is just not there, and that, among other reasons, is why it will not be solvent long term.

    Yeah that's why League 1/2 in the UK and all the other sub leagues in Europe are failing. Good call.

    Commence soccer fans yelling.... NOW!

    Those of us who pay attention don't need to resort to yelling. (HINT: Attend some local town halls to see this difference in action in the political arena.)

    Peter and Carla should get together and start a new sports blogging site: truthinessSports.com

  • Peter Apanel (unverified)
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    Just in case anyone is still reading these posts, and is interested in facts, you can Google "2007 Oregon Structural Specialty Code." In Chapter 29, Plumbing Systems, in Table 29-A, it gives the formula for the minimum number of toilets required at stadiums. And the number works out to roughly one-third of what FIFA would recommend as a minimum. That's because American building codes are typically aimed at football and baseball uses, and not what's needed for soccer matches.

    Once again, FIFA's point is that having adequate spectator facilities is essential for the long-term economic viability of a soccer venue.

    PGE Park has been getting by for years with an inadequate number of restrooms and food stands, plus sub-standard bleachers, because the typical Timbers match draws less than 50% of capacity, and even then those facilities are strained.

    So, if you have 20,000 people showing up for MLS matches, and they find themselves crammed into those bleachers, and unable to use the restrooms or buy food without it being an ordeal, they won't return.

    And, by the way, even though FIFA's guidebook is basically aimed at new stadium construction, it does take into account adapting an existing stadium to meet FIFA's standards. That's on page 26.

    It's all common sense, and I'll keep at it as long as the mainstream media here in Portland continue to run puff pieces instead of real news about this soccer deal.

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    Woo-Hoo! Now we're bringing basketball dissin' into all this?

    Well, heck, it'll serve to make my point.

    A thoughtful city governence is well advised to seek out good business propositions which will not only provide new jobs and afford good development opportunities, but expand the community's overall richness in terms of experiences avaialble to its citizens. The good governing body will recognize that not all experiences will be cherished by all, and it's incumbent upon the city to ensure that one is not sacrificed for the other. Soccer fans may not like or appreciate baseball or basketball, but there is a following for each in this town, just as there is a following for soccer.

    This good governing board should also be willing to negotiate to it's maximum capability, and be shrewd and mindful of the opportunity the city affords the prospective business.

    I'm with Kurt, we bought this thing without taking full advantage of the fact that PDX IS a prime market for MLS. In a long ago and far-away post someone mentioned that Dan Saltzman received a letter from MLS saying they didn't wanna have dual use. And a freaking a letter prevented the entire City Council from even trying to negotiate a deal for even a year of dual use? Really?

    So we lost baseball... probably to Beaverton, who is over there playing smart and small ball (baseball fans will get that reference), and we are suckered into a smelly deal that drains funds out of the Rose Garden, too - until the 2030s!

    • so not only did the City fathers serve to diminish the overall Portland experience by losing one activity, but they made a bad deal in doing so.

    I don't know if they could have made a deal that would have satisfied everyone, but Randy Leonard said it himself... "There was no interest in the building" in saving the Beavers. It's pretty clear they didn't try... and they didn't serve their constituents well in their failure.

  • eric cantona (unverified)
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    Peter:

    in regards to the FIFA "recommendations" - if you happened to attend the 1994 FIFA WORLD CUP you may have noticed people in both Stanford Stadium and the Rose Bowl crammed cheek to jowl on narrow, backless bench seats. this was the pinnacle of the sport being played in the US under FIFA's "requirements". coincidentally, overall attendance averaged nearly 70k, and i believe all the games sold out at both the Rose Bowl and Stanford.

    also, based on your last post, have you seen the final plans for the renovation of Civic Stadium? do you know the exact amount of new toilets/urinals, concessions, and general dimensions of the aisles, seating, concourse, etc.? we all know that the stadium is an under-performing mess right now, but my understanding is that this is being taken into account as the remodel moves forward. not saying it will meet the "recommendations" you've cited, but my bet is that Paulson and Co. will be cognizant of the fan experience in order to get the ROI they need to be viable.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
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    No more sportspork! www.youtube.com/luddite333

  • WordsOnAPage (unverified)
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    you can Google "2007 Oregon Structural Specialty Code." In Chapter 29, Plumbing Systems, in Table 29-A ... American building codes are typically aimed at football and baseball uses, and not what's needed for soccer matches.

    Once again, FIFA's point is that having adequate spectator facilities is essential for the long-term economic viability of a soccer venue.

    And your point, which was made clear with your hack Oregonian article a while back, is to use modern search engines to find tiny, insignificant problems and blow them up into shrill, towering mountains.

    ...the typical Timbers match draws less than 50% of capacity, and even then those facilities are strained. So, if you have 20,000 people showing up for MLS matches...

    The 14K on hand last night seemed to be doing quite well. My wife changed a baby in the restroom (during halftime!) with no complaints and I played on the family deck with other families having fun at the game. Great atmosphere! You should stop by some time.

    And, by the way, even though FIFA's guidebook is basically aimed at new stadium construction, it does take into account adapting an existing stadium to meet FIFA's standards. That's on page 26.

    It's all common sense, and I'll keep at it as long as the mainstream media here in Portland continue to run puff pieces instead of real news about this soccer deal.

    <h2>It's not common sense dude, or it wouldn't be buried on page 26 of a FIFA PDF that only you have ever read. Sorry man, but read up on how the business of soccer works before you expect to be taken seriously.</h2>
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