Portland Diamond Project (PDP), the organisation behind the effort to bring Major League Baseball (MLB) to the US city, has revealed the names of its charter investors, with the venture having reportedly gained commitments of more than $1.3bn (£1bn/€1.1bn) from out of state equity-stake investors.

PDP launched in May and is seeking an MLB team at a new stadium by 2022 at the earliest. The group has star backing, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, singer Ciara, in June signing on as its first outside investors.

Financial support for PDP’s plans has been questioned, but the group yesterday (Thursday) detailed the full makeup of its charter investors, which comprise 12 families who have collectively funded the drive to bring MLB to Portland.

In addition to Wilson and Ciara, the group also includes the likes of Nike’s vice-president of global footwear product creation, Mark Allen, and wife Peg; former CEO of Platt Electric, Harvey Platt and wife Sandy; retired business owner and philanthropist Samantha Richardson; and former Toronto Blue Jays player Darwin Barney and his father and brother.

“These individuals’ early involvement and belief in PDP stem from personal passion for both the game of baseball and their community,” PDP founder and CEO Craig Cheek said in a statement. “Very early on, they recognised the unique opportunity we have to leave a legacy for the City of Portland that extends far beyond the foul lines.”

To date, PDP’s charter investors have supplied funding for the initiative’s overall operations, including ballpark and development design, legal services, government relations, communications, community engagement and branding. Additionally, this first round of investment helped launch the Portland Diamond Clubhouse pop-up store, which sells PDP-branded t-shirts, caps and other merchandise.

Although PDP said some charter investors will likely continue to contribute financially to the initiative as it progresses, additional investors will join the effort and provide the funds that will go toward building the ballpark and acquiring an MLB team for Portland.

In November, it was announced that an agreement had been reached with the Port of Portland to develop its 45-acre Terminal 2 property around a stadium with a capacity of 32,000 to 34,000. Cheek told The Oregonian newspaper that the combined stadium project and cost of obtaining a team is projected to be in excess of $2.5bn.

A City Hall source added that PDP had showed Mayor Ted Wheeler letters of agreement from out of state equity-stake investors totalling more than $1.3bn. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has repeatedly said expansion will not be looked at until after the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays get new ballparks, but the league is looking to increase from 30 to 32 clubs.

“As a native of the Portland area and an MLB player myself, I see PDP as a legacy project,” Barney added in a statement. “The opportunity to invest and be part of this history-shaping campaign was a very easy decision for me.”

Image: Portland Diamond Project