On stadium naming rights, Rose Quarter doings, a Duck QB recruit and a prep shot clock
Weighing in on a few matters as we head into another sports week ...
• Monday's major announcement by the Portland Timbers is expected to be about naming rights at PGE Park going to Jeld-Wen, the Klamath Falls-headquartered windows and doors company that sponsored the Champions Tour 'Tradition' event for eight years.
The Timbers already had hooked up with KeyBank as a 'founding partner,' sponsoring the Little Timbers Fan Club and the 5,500-square-foot KeyBank Club, which will include a full-service restaurant and indoor and outdoor areas available to club ticket holders.
In 2000, PGE signed a 10-year naming-rights contract for the stadium that began at $893,000 for the first year and reaped a little more than $10 million over the decade. An educated guess would put Jeld-Wen's upcoming contribution at somewhere between $1.2 million and $1.5 million annually.
• Discussions are ongoing with the Trail Blazers and Iberdrola - the world's largest renewable energy operator headquartered in Spain - about naming rights at the Rose Garden.
But any deal is likely connected to Portland Arena Management's Rose Quarter development rights, which expire on May 24.
Word that Nike intends to move some of its offices - specifically, from the company's 'Innovation Kitchen' design department - to the Rose Quarter is a bit premature.
'There has been a bit of interest on the part of the Blazers and the city of Portland to engage Nike in more collaborative efforts inside the city,' says Tinker Hatfield, Nike's vice president of design and special projects. 'There have been conversations about a Nike presence in the Rose Quarter area. A 'design satellite' (office) is one of many things thrown out.
'There has been a long list of suggestions and ideas in very casual conversation, but nothing beyond the notion that we should be a little more involved.'
Nike's presence, of course, makes the Rose Garden more desirable for companies looking to maximize advertising value. Blazer President Larry Miller - a former Nike executive - would love to have the shoe and apparel giant there to add credibility to the area, to perhaps inspire others to sign on and to make the Rose Quarter more profitable. So, too, would Portland Mayor Sam Adams.
I think it's going to happen, but it could take some time.
As for a naming-rights contract at Paul Allen's palace, it's inevitable. I just hope the 'Rose Garden' can continue to be incorporated in the name. Nothing is more fitting in the City of Roses.
• Remember Jerrard Randall, the quarterback from Chaminade-Madonna College Prep in Hollywood, Fla., who verbally committed to Oregon last summer?
The one I wrote about in August, whose MySpace page possessed plenty of objectionable language, plus two photos of someone holding guns, before it was taken down the night of our conversation?
Randall - who passed for 1,571 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 531 yards and nine TDs as a senior at Chaminade - didn't initially qualify and needed to retake his ACT, and word was the Ducks had chosen not to sign him.
Now Randall says he has gained the necessary ACT score, and he told Rivals.com last Monday he still intended to sign with Oregon.
A day later, he was quoted by the service as saying, 'I want to play somewhere I feel wanted, and I don't feel that from Oregon.'
Randall said he was lining up visits with Georgia Tech, Louisiana State and Miami.
UO coach Chip Kelly did not respond to my query about Randall. An Oregon spokesman said there would be no comment from Kelly unless Randall signs a letter, but that he hadn't heard any discussion about the Florida QB since signing day, Feb. 2.
• I'm a fan of high school basketball, but after watching a few games of the Class 6A state tournament at the Rose Garden, I'm more convinced than ever that change is necessary.
Institution of a shot clock and extension of the game from 32 to 40 minutes would be a good starting point.
A shot clock quickens the game, makes it more appealing for players and fans and takes away the possibility of stalling at the end of quarters and, most important, at the end of a tight game.
Washington uses a 35-second shot clock, and California has one, too.
'It would make the game so much better,' says Nick Robertson, the retired 41-year coaching giant who is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. 'When I was coaching, I was guilty as anyone, always holding for the last shot.
'It's criminal that we don't have it. The 3-point line gave our game a tremendous boost. We need another boost.'
High-school games are completed in about an hour and 15 minutes. Adding eight minutes of play would extend the game's time span 20 or so minutes, but it would still be over much more quickly than most prep athletic contests.
'You'd play more kids, and you'd see more basketball,' Robertson says.
That's a win-win.