June 16, 2006 - USL First Division (USL-1) - Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Pacific Coast League (PCL), the Portland Beavers and Portland Timbers today announced that the sale of the professional baseball and soccer franchises to Portland Baseball Investment Group, LLC (PBIG), has been completed.
In March 2005, the PCL, which assumed operation of the franchises prior to the 2004 season, announced that an agreement was reached to sell the teams to PBIG. Today\'s announcement finalizes all aspects of the ownership transfer.
PBIG consists of top-level business executives; chief among those investors are majority owner Abe Alizadeh (ah-lee-ZAW-day), a noted entrepreneur, real estate developer and restaurateur who owns and operates a number of T.G.I. Friday's locations in Oregon, and Portland native and minority investor Jack Cain.
"It is with great reward and achievement that we open a new chapter in the history of these storied franchises," Alizadeh said. "All of the investors in the new ownership group are looking forward to great success for years to come as we continue to provide the best in affordable, family entertainment to Portland.
"We are thrilled to be involved with the Beavers and Timbers."
Alizadeh is the general partner of Sacramento, Calif.-based Kobra Properties with a diverse portfolio in commercial and industrial real estate, restaurants, and now, professional sports. The Alizadeh family owns and operates 55 Jack in the Box restaurants and several T.G.I. Friday\'s restaurants in California and Oregon, including the Portland metro area. Alizadeh serves as the president of the Jack in the Box Association of Franchises, Inc., and is chairman of the board of the National Franchisee Purchasing Cooperative, Inc.
In addition to Alizadeh and Cain, other key leaders critical to the successful transaction included Branch B. Rickey, president of the Pacific Coast League, Tim Holt, vice president of United Soccer Leagues, and Art Savage, majority owner and CEO of the highly successful Sacramento River Cats and a member of the PCL\'s executive committee.
"On behalf of all the member teams of the Pacific Coast League, we are all very pleased with today\'s announcement," Rickey said. "We now have an outstanding ownership group in place in Portland, and the franchises are definitely poised for a great future in a wonderful market."
In December 2005, the teams and the city of Portland announced approval of a new multi-year lease agreement for PGE Park. The new agreement runs through 2010 with a two-year extension option through 2012, and ensures that the Beavers and Timbers will continue playing their home games at PGE Park, with PBIG managing the multipurpose facility and attracting additional events to the park.
Under the guidance of the PCL and the new ownership group\'s management team, the Beavers and Timbers have substantially upgraded overall performance at PGE Park over the past two years, adding key sales and marketing staff members, securing several new corporate partners, making lease payments on time and successfully attracting additional events to the stadium, including Toyota Trucks Mariners Day, a sold-out spring training game featuring the Beavers and the Seattle Mariners in March 2006.
In 2005, the Beavers realized a 16-percent growth in attendance over the previous season, averaging 800 more fans per game compared to 2004. Enjoying their strongest preseason sales results since the renovation of PGE Park in 2001, the Beavers increased group ticket sales by 75 percent and season ticket sales by 30 percent for the 2006 season. The increases can be attributed to a number of factors, including an expanded sales and marketing staff, increased interest in themed group nights and a series of new sales initiatives.