750 The Game Staff
Our own John Canzano reported Tuesday that the Portland Diamond Project is preparing a written offer to purchase the 164-acre property at RedTail Golf Course from the City of Portland with the hopes of ultimately bringing Major League Baseball to Portland.
Canzano reports the offer to be in the range of $50 to $55 Million.
Maury Brown, senior contributor to Forbes and member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, joined Canzano on 750 The Game with his thoughts on the latest MLB to PDX pitch. Brown says this attempt seems like one final try by the Portland Diamond Project, who have yet to secure a ballpark location after a number of previous efforts.
“I looked at it and I said, well, Terminal 2 on the waterfront didn’t come through, Lloyd Center didn’t come through, talk about putting it across from NIKE World Headquarters on Tektronics property didn’t come through… OK, this seems like maybe a last gasp of trying to do something here.”
Brown thinks that there is value in getting the RedTail Golf Course acreage even without the immediate guarantee of landing a big league baseball team.
“If they make this thing fly and they get that land, even if they can’t get the ballpark done, they will have that land and will be a step above everybody else (for future expansion),” Brown said. “They can develop it and do whatever they want with it at the end of the day. But that will allow them to be further along than others have, and I think that is something for them to look at.”
Brown said that if the deal goes through, it becomes imperative to develop a total entertainment experience around the potential ballpark, a model Major League Baseball all but requires in their new stadiums.
“They would go ahead and they would develop a bunch of stuff around it, you could make it an entertainment district, you could put a major hotel there, you could put restaurants and shops, something that would be exciting even if you didn’t have the ballpark,” Brown said. “But if you put it around the ballpark it’s a major thing to go ahead and have. That helps pay for the $2 Billion dollar ballpark. That helps pay for potentially a $2 Billion expansion fee. I mean, it’s a lot of money. And the only way you can do that is to have that. So I think that is a feather in their cap. If they can get that land, it will absolutely allow them to do that mix-used development around it.”
The money conversation is a vital one, said Brown, who remains curious about who is footing the bill for the costs of landing an expansion team.
“One of the things that has always been a question mark around the Portland effort is, where is the money, who are these people, and that really has never come to light,” Brown told Canzano. “There’s been seed money and they’ve been able to do stuff but they have yet to be able to close on a deal, whether that was Terminal 2, whether that was a deal with the City in the pandemic, or the deal with Tektronics that didn’t come through or the Lloyd Center. And at a certain point you have to go, do you have the money, are you really serious about making this happen.”
Canzano says while he is unable to confirm a specific individual who is the primary investor behind the MLB to PDX funding effort, he says he is told it is a “tech person from the Bay Area,” but that he has been given no other information than that, and that he doesn’t think it is Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Brown says it would go a long way to learn of a primary billionaire investor, or the like, to help the baseball to Portland cause.
“It’d be huge,” Brown said. “It really would. I think at this point it almost becomes a necessity because of what Salt Lake has done. At a certain stage, there’s all kinds of political gyrations that go along with this in terms of how it happens. But at the end of the day, John, it really boils down to one thing and one thing alone: who is paying for it and do you have the money? It really does boil down to that.”
Check out the full segment with Forbes senior contributor Maury Brown and the podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.