Sports in Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon, United States, is home to two major league sports teams — the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association, and the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. The city also hosts a wide variety of other sports and sporting events.

Current major professional teams[edit]

Basketball[edit]

The Portland Trail Blazers play in the NBA. The Blazers won their only NBA Championship in 1977. They lost in the NBA finals in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons, and 1992 to the Chicago Bulls. Several of the Blazers' former players are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, including Dražen Petrović, Bill Walton, Lenny Wilkens, Clyde Drexler, and Arvydas Sabonis.

Soccer[edit]

The Portland Timbers started play in Major League Soccer in 2011. The Timbers play at Providence Park, where they average over 20,000 fans and routinely sell out matches.[1] As of November 2013, the Portland Timbers had sold out the last 50 consecutive matches, and over 10,000 fans were on the wait list for season tickets.[2] The franchise is a continuation of the Portland Timbers of the United Soccer League, who themselves carried the name of a previous Timbers team. Before they dissolved in 2010, they made the playoffs four out of six times but never won a championship.[3]

Baseball[edit]

There has been interest since 2000 in attracting a Major League Baseball franchise to Portland. In 2004, the city made an unsuccessful bid for the Montreal Expos, and in 2006 the city was contacted by the Florida Marlins.[citation needed]

List of professional teams[edit]

Club Sport League Championships Home venue Founded Attendance
Portland Thorns Women's soccer National Women's Soccer League 1 (2013) Providence Park 2012 13,320
Portland Thunder Arena football Arena Football League Moda Center 2013
Portland Timbers Soccer Major League Soccer Providence Park 2009 20,674
Portland Timbers U23s Soccer USL Premier Development League 1 (2010) Providence Park 2008
Portland Trail Blazers Basketball National Basketball Association 1 (1976–77) Moda Center 1970 19,829
Portland Winterhawks Ice hockey Western Hockey League 2 (1982–83, 1997–98) Moda Center 1976 6,537

Current minor league and semi-pro teams[edit]

PGE Park (now Providence Park), home of the Beavers and the Timbers.

Soccer[edit]

The Timbers also operate Portland Thorns FC, a professional women's team that is one of the eight charter members of the National Women's Soccer League that launched in 2013. The Thorns share Providence Park with the Timbers. In their inaugural 2013 season, the Thorns averaged 13,320 fans per match.[4]

Hockey[edit]

The Portland Winterhawks, a major-junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League, have been a team since 1976-1977. The Winterhawks are one of the more popular WHL teams and have many loyal fans.[citation needed]

Baseball and softball[edit]

The Hillsboro Hops began play in 2013 at a new 4,500-seat stadium in Hillsboro, a Portland suburb.

The local Alpenrose Dairy is host to the annual Little League softball World Series and has a velodrome on site.

Other minor teams[edit]

Portland is home to the Portland Thunder in the Arena Football League.

One minor league basketball team, the Portland Chinooks in the International Basketball League, has recently[when?] been established.

College sports[edit]

Portland is home to two NCAA Division I programs: the Portland Pilots, of the University of Portland, and the Portland State Vikings, from Portland State University. Portland State offers football, basketball, women's volleyball, golf, soccer, track and field, tennis, softball, and cross country. The Vikings sponsor football in the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) level and play their games at Providence Park. Portland State is a member of the Big Sky Conference. The Portland Pilots are members of the non-football West Coast Conference and sponsor baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, and track and field.

Other sports teams[edit]

  • Tennis. Team Portland Tennis[6] is a gay and lesbian tennis group that hosts the GLTA sanctioned The Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance Rose City Open every Labor Day weekend and provides various opportunities to meet and compete within the gay community.
  • Touch rugby. The Portland Touch Rugby team is a member of the US Federation of International Touch (USFIT)and has won the national championship several times, most recently in 2007 (Portland, Oregon), 2008 (Houston, Texas), and 2009 (Portland, Oregon). The team, the Portland Hunters [3], is home to a number of key members of the US National Touch team who have competed in the Touch Rugby International World Cup several times. There are also two other Touch Rugby teams in the Portland area, the Tigard, Oregon branch of Tumeke Touch and the Reed College Touch Rugby team.
  • Australian Rules Football. Portland is home to the Portland Steelheads Australian Football Club of the USAFL, one of the oldest in the United States, having formed in 1998. The club also runs a small metro footy league.[7] Portland holds the record attendance for an Australian Rules Football match (14,787), when visiting Australian Football League clubs Melbourne and West Coast competed at Civic Stadium in 1990.
  • Roller derby. The Rose City Rollers is an all-female Women's Flat Track Derby Association-affiliated league with over 140 members, founded in 2004. It consists of five teams: the Heartless Heathers, the Break Neck Betties, the High Rollers, the Guns N Rollers, and the All-Star traveling team, the Wheels of Justice, who play in interleague bouts. Portland Men's Roller Derby is an all-male league established in 2009. The men's league plays by the current WFTDA roller derby ruleset.

Defunct sports teams[edit]

Portland's first professional sports team was the Portland Rosebuds hockey team.[citation needed] They joined the Pacific Coast Hockey Association in 1914. They were the first professional sports team in Oregon,[citation needed] the first professional hockey team in the United States,[citation needed] and the first U.S. team to play for the Stanley Cup (in 1916, against the Montreal Canadiens).[citation needed] The initial team folded soon afterwards in 1918, but the Regina Capitals moved into the city and took the same name in 1925. However, this team folded after just a single season. After this, many of the team's players were traded to Chicago and became the core of the new Blackhawks franchise.[8] The Rosebuds played at the Portland Hippodrome.

The Portland Beavers were a Triple-A baseball team from the Pacific Coast League affiliated with the San Diego Padres. The most recent franchise, which left after the 2010 season to become the Tucson Padres, was founded in 2001, though the Beavers name dates to an early Portland baseball team established in 1903.

Baseball teams called the Beavers existed in Portland from 1903-1917 and again from 1919-1972, and finally from 1978-1993. In 1973, after the Beavers moved to Spokane, Washington, the Portland Mavericks came to town in the form of an independent Single-A team within the Northwest League. From 1973 to 1977 they played in what was then known as Civic Stadium. The Mavericks were owned by ex-minor league player and television actor Bing Russell. When Russell sold the team back to the Beavers in 1978 it was for 116,000 dollars, at the time a record amount for a minor league franchise. The most recent Beavers franchise played in PGE Park. The original Beavers stadium was Vaughn Street Park located in northwest Portland. The Beavers have won the Pacific Coast League Pennant the following years: 1906, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1932, 1936, 1945 and 1983. When the Beavers relocated to Salt Lake City in 1993, another Northwest League team, the Portland Rockies, moved in for the 1995 season, playing until 2000. When the Beavers returned, the Rockies relocated to Pasco, Washington to become the Tri-City Dust Devils.

The Portland Pride was established in 1992 as a founding member of the Continental Indoor Soccer League (CISL), which began play in 1993. The team played its home games in Portland's Memorial Coliseum. In 1997, the team and the league played its last season. The CISL folded and the Pride ownership moved the team to the Premier Soccer Alliance, where the team played under the name Portland Pythons.

Other venues, events, and activities[edit]

A view of downtown with Mt. Hood in the background.
  • Rock climbing is growing in popularity as an outdoor pastime. At numerous small crags around town, one may glimpse mountaineers-in-training with their ropes, alpenstocks, and hard-soled boots practicing their technical moves on the rock in preparation for difficult alpine ascents.
  • Running is a major important sport in the metropolitan area, the home of Nike and of Adidas' American operations. The Portland Marathon has been held annually in the city since 1971. The Hood to Coast Relay is the world's largest running relay race,[citation needed] with approximately 17,000 racers per year running from Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean at Seaside.
  • Velodrome. Amateur cycling has occurred weekly at the Alpenrose Velodrome since 1962.
  • Cricket. Portland has its own cricket league called Oregon Cricket League (OCL) estb. 2005 that provides 2 formats of the game of cricket year around; T20, the 20 overs cricket league played in colored clothings, and the longer format of 30 overs league played in whites. Beaverton United Cricket Club is the reigning champion of the T20 league, winning it 3 times in a row from 2011. Northwest Cricket Club is the current champion of the 30-30 cricket league.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Oregonian, For the Portland Timbers, home field is a real advantage, Nov. 5, 2013, http://www.oregonlive.com/timbers/index.ssf/2013/11/the_home_field_is_a_real_advan.html
  2. ^ The Oregonian, For the Portland Timbers, home field is a real advantage, Nov. 5, 2013, http://www.oregonlive.com/timbers/index.ssf/2013/11/the_home_field_is_a_real_advan.html
  3. ^ http://web.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jsp?ymd=20090320&content_id=228140&vkey=pr_mls&fext=.jsp
  4. ^ The Daily Wiz, NWSL Attendance Comparisons Part II, Oct. 2, 2013, http://www.thedailywiz.com/2013/10/2/4795498/nwsl-attendance-comparisons-part-ii
  5. ^ http://www.americanrugbynews.com/artman/publish/rugby_league/RL_Hopes_To_Move_West.shtml
  6. ^ http://www.teamportland-tennis.org
  7. ^ http://www.portlandfooty.com/
  8. ^ Diamond, Dan (1992). The Official National Hockey League Stanley Cup Centennial Book. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. pp. 71.