PORTLAND -- Last year at this time, a Portland resident could drive almost anywhere in town and see his or her picture plastered on the side of a building. It was part of the Timbers marketing campaign to launch their inaugural MLS season.
Regular people, regular fans helping the club sell the game.
No one knows if that campaign contributed to an entire season being sold out, but it certainly didn’t hurt.
This winter, the Timbers have kept the campaign “in-house.” Images of players and Coach Spencer can be seen, (can’t be missed is a better term), on street corners throughout the city.
The mural on the corner of Burnside and Broadway in downtown Portland caught Coach Spencer’s eye.
“Every morning, I wake up, brush my teeth and look at myself in the mirror. I don’t need to see myself on a 30-foot or 60-foot banner,” Spencer joked.
Knowing Spencer, there’s probably some truth to that statement, but he understands the importance of the campaign.
The Timbers in reality, don’t need to do this to sell tickets. As great as the fan billboards were in 2011, I’m not sure one additional ticket was sold as a result, said KGW Sports Director Michael Berk. Timbers would sell out Jeld-Wen Field even without sending out a pamphlet.
But the campaign is more about making the team part of Portland’s fabric than about selling additional tickets. It’s about timing, and getting everyone in the city thinking and talking about soccer again, at roughly the same time each winter.
“The front office did a great job with last years’ billboards, and that’s something that a lot of teams don’t do,” said Timbers defender Eric Brunner. “Our front office does a great job of promoting the team.”
Just don’t ask Spencer to do any more. “I’ll tell you man, this is one time only. I might need some photo-shop to get rid of wrinkles and baggy eyes. Then maybe I’ll look better!”
To Timbers’ fans, they all look just fine. The hope is that the players look as good (and as imposing), on the field come March 12th when the season begins against Philadelphia.