When the City of Glendale came to an arena-management deal with the prospective owners of the Phoenix Coyotes, it was widely reported that the NHL club had narrowly avoided moving to Seattle.
However, based on a report from CSN Northwest, another American city was in the mix to land the franchise should things fall apart in the desert:
….according to a highly placed Portland Trail Blazer source, the Blazers were closely monitoring the situation, had been in discussions with the NHL and were ready to make an offer for the franchise in order to move it to Portland’s Rose Garden, if the lease in Glendale didn’t work out. The interest by the Blazers was considered serious, by the team and the NHL, with much time spent on financial analysis and projections. It is believed the team could consolidate several of its operations to serve both basketball and hockey while adding another full-time tenant for the arena.
Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen was said to be fully on board with the acquisition of the team, as long as the price and terms made financial sense. The Phoenix team is currently owned by the NHL and is valued somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million. The Trail Blazer source said, “Allen continues to be very supportive of investing in things that are good for the Portland market.”
We’ve already written about Portland as a potential NHL market. If the above report is accurate, perhaps we’ll have to start writing more.
The Portland metro area, with an approximate population of 2.2 million, isn’t as big as Seattle’s (est. 3.5 million); however, it’s larger than current NHL markets like Columbus and Raleigh.
The Rose Garden opened in 1995 and seats over 18,000 for hockey.
In recent NBA seasons, the Trail Blazers have been among the league leaders in attendance.