The Portland Timbers Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise will play its first game at the revamped Providence Park this Saturday following a $100m (£79m/€90m) facelift.
The clash with league leader LAFC will mark the end of a lengthy road trip for Portland, which has had to play its first 12 matches of the 2019 MLS season away from home to allow final work to be completed.
The stadium, which was originally built a century ago, now has 4,100 additional seats covered by a roof, as well as new video boards, an updated sound system and new changing rooms.
The 22,000-capacity venue will now also have 19 new dining places, including three Tillamook Grill locations, a Vista Nachos and two locations each of popular Portland establishments Hot Lips Pizza and Podnah’s BBQ, which will be new to the venue. The stadium’s points of sale have also increased by 30 per cent.
Earlier this month, the MLS team and its sister outfit, the Thorns, from the National Women’s Soccer League, teamed up with catering provider Levy to launch the new Park Provisions hospitality brand ahead of the reopening.
“It’s a unique type of stadium, how it’s so vertical,” architect Brad Cloepfil, who is a Timbers fan and was behind the redesign, told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s amazing to be on the third floor it’s like you’re in a drone, you’re right over the field. I think the fans will have a lot of fun.”
However, the price tag of the redevelopment has raised eyebrows.
Franchise owner Merritt Paulson recently told Yahoo Sports: “You can debate whether or not all the investment was necessarily warranted, and I guess time will tell.
“If you told me when we started it this was going to be $100m project just at the stadium, I’m not sure it would’ve been green-lit, to be candid. But in retrospect I’m just so pleased with how everything has come out.”
Image: Portland Timbers