Chief Executive Officer - Merritt Paulson
Named to Sports Business Journal’s exclusive “Forty Under 40” class of 2011, 2012 and 2013, Paulson’s diligent efforts – an arduous process that began in 2008 – to bring a second major league sports franchise to Portland and to transform Providence Park into one of the most intimate sports venues in the country came to life during the Timbers’ inaugural MLS season in 2011. Under Paulson’s leadership, the Timbers have sold out all of their regular-season home games (51 straight) since joining MLS, have developed award-winning marketing campaigns and community outreach programs and transformed the region’s sporting landscape by creating one of the most authentic and exciting in-game experiences in sports.
Paulson was elected to the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors on March 2, 2014. The Board of Directors is the governing body of U.S. Soccer and adopts bylaws and policies for the federation. The board consists of elected members that represent all facets of soccer in the United States.
Leading into their third MLS season in 2013, the Timbers achieved more than a 96 percent renewal rate on season tickets, marking the second straight year in which the club has had a 96 percent renewal rate or better. The club increased the number of season tickets available for a second straight season in 2013, expanding the cap to 15,250 to help meet the increased demand to attend matches at Providence Park. Additionally, the club has a Season Ticket Waiting List that numbered more than 6,500 fans, leading into the 2012 season. With a successful inaugural MLS campaign both on and off the field, Paulson was awarded the Slats Gill Award for Sportsperson of the Year for 2011 by the Oregon Sports Awards. With the honor, he became just the second non-coach to be so-honored in the history of the award, the first since Harry Glickman of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1970.
Before assuming ownership of the team in 2007, Paulson was an executive at NBA Entertainment in New York, where he helped launch and develop NBA-TV and had responsibility for both marketing and business development efforts of NBA-TV and NBA LEAGUE PASS. He first moved to New York to join HBO on Demand and was part of the team that launched the first premium subscription video on-demand service.
Paulson graduated from Hamilton College with a B.A. in English and earned his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
From a personal standpoint, Paulson, his wife and two daughters are thrilled to live in the Portland area and are passionate outdoor enthusiasts. Paulson is on the boards of the Oregon Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Sports Authority and Panthera.