Portland Timbers: Reaching Out to New Fans

Oh, my God, I love this.

As you can tell by the clouds, the billboard is in Seattle, Washington. Actually, that curvy girder thing to the right is Qwest Field.

This isn't the first time Oregon pro teams have pulled a stunt like this, either. Back in 2002, the University of Oregon rented a big-ass billboard - billboard, hell, it was the side of a building - in downtown Los Angeles. The ostensible reasoning was for Nike - sorry, UO - to advertise its brand, and maybe help a little with recruiting. The real reason was to piss off USC.

I could only find a picture of the Joey Harrington billboard put up in New York City the year before. So here's a billboard that also pissed off a bunch of Angelenos a while back.

The Timbers have even less reason than the Ducks to wave green and gold in enemy territory - presumably, the Timbers aren't going to sell a lot of shirts in Seattle, nor will they recruit too many Sounders players. It's just pure snottiness. And I absolutely love it.

I am so glad the Pacific Northwest has joined MLS, I really am. Occasionally old-timey MLS snobs like me may take the occasional shot at you guys, but just speaking for myself? You've been perfect. Yeah, you've been insufferable on the boards - that's what MLS fans do. Each new fan base is supposed to compete for the title of Worst Fans on BigSoccer as fiercely as the old fans defend their title. And it's usually a fifteen- or sixteen-way tie for first.

But what I really love is that your front offices are willing to be this hilarious. That's not something old-timey MLS fogies like me are used to seeing. This is like the US Open Cup of advertising - it's only to delight hardcore fans.

I can understand why every team doesn't indulge in this. Advertising money is not infinite, and, of course, this sort of thing wins over only the previously won over. FC Dallas, to pick one example, needs to focus on making more FC Dallas fans, however satisfying it would be to put a big "The Wizards Suck Worse Than The Royals" sign next to Arthur Bryant's.

But I'm glad the Timbers did this, even if it's only once. And I look forward to the Sounders taking some sort of equally humorous revenge.

Can I love both the Timbers and the Sounders equally? Can I? How about if I promise to hate Vancouver or something? You'll have to get me up to speed on what to hate about Vancouver, though.

EDIT - although old-timey teams can occasionally allow some neat stuff. That huge yellow sign in Section 8 of the guy flipping the double bird while Landon Donovan was taking his penalty kick last Saturday? I laughed. I hope Landon did too.