Portland Timbers earn four honors at 2014 MLS Club and Executive Awards

2014 MLS Club Executive Awards

PHILADELPHIA – The Portland Timbers were the recipient of four club and executive awards that annually recognize individuals and clubs for outstanding contributions off the playing field, it was announced recently by Major League Soccer during its annual meetings at the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. The Timbers were honored with a third straight Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Department of the Year presented by MLS WORKS, while Todd Spear was named Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year, and the team was named Club Broadcast Staff of the Year and, working with Gameday Merchandising, the league’s Merchandiser of the Year. The Timbers and Sporting Kansas City both received four awards.

Under the guidance of Kristel Wissel, Timbers director of community relations, the club continued to make Stand Together – the club’s community outreach platform – one of the most impactful in sports while working closely with corporate partners on noteworthy philanthropic endeavors in 2014. The club’s signature Stand Together Week once again inspired several hundred volunteers to join together in support of 38 projects that benefitted almost 30 different nonprofits in the community. New in 2014, the Timbers introduced “Rose City United,” a charitable soccer match held at Providence Park between the Portland police and fire bureaus to benefit the Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division and Portland Fire and Rescue’s Toy N Joy Makers.

The Timbers, who were a Patterson Award finalist for excellence in Sports Philanthropy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in both 2013 and 2014, implemented a new Global Assists program, providing more than 100 indestructible One World Futbol soccer balls to international organizations. Once again singled out by the Portland Business Journal for their outstanding philanthropic work for a medium-sized company in 2014, the Timbers continued to make an impact locally through the construction of soccer fields and by planting more than 140 trees as part of the club’s “Score A Goal, Plant a Tree” program.

In total, the Timbers gave more than $250,000 in cash and in-kind donations to deserving nonprofit organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2014.

Spear, the Timbers’ vice president of corporate partnerships, marked his second season with the Timbers in 2014 and oversaw a record-breaking year in his department, including a new integrated, multiyear community partnership with Providence Heath & Services founded in health and wellness initiatives and events throughout the region and a renaming of Providence Park, home of the Timbers. Among many landmark deals in 2014, Spear and his staff partnered with Alaska Airlines on an extension to the club’s popular jersey partnership and announced a multiyear agreement with Simple as the first training kit sponsor in MLS and as the presenting partner of the 2015 season and the club’s preseason tournament, the Simple Invitational. The corporate partnership staff also introduced several new local partners in 2014, including Tillamook and Daimler Trucks North America, as well as a robust wireless partnership with Cricket Wireless. 

Under the leadership of Matt Smith, the Timbers’ vice president of broadcasting, the club was honored with its first Broadcast Staff of the Year honor. The Timbers local broadcasts are consistently among the highest rated in MLS, once again realizing impressive growth in 2014. Smith’s group also was singled out for its exceptional production support to the league’s national broadcast partners during games originating from Providence Park in Portland, including the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.

Portland also earned Merchandiser of the Year, along with Gameday Merchandising under the direction of general manager Kimberly Vrooman. Through inventive product lines and an increased presence in Portland and online, Gameday and the Timbers realized record sales in 2014, bolstered by popular, Portland-centric programs such as the “Scarf of the Month” and a banner 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.

In addition to the four club and executive awards, the Timbers ticket department was recognized for its Commissioner Club status in overall season ticket sales and for its then-record 98 percent renewal rate of season tickets leading into the 2014 campaign, a league record since eclipsed this offseason with a staggering renewal rate of more than 99 percent following the 2014 season. Additionally, Timbers manager of corporate ticket sales Pat Rice was honored for achieving the Bronze threshold for group ticket sales.  

2014 MLS Club and Executive Awards Winners
Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year – Bill Manning, Real Salt Lake
Ticket Sales Executive of the Year – Colby Fackler, Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year – Todd Spear, Portland Timbers
Ticket Sales Team of the Year – Real Salt Lake
Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
Marketing Team of the Year – Columbus Crew SC
Public Relations Team of the Year – LA Galaxy
Partnership Marketing Activation of the Year – Toronto FC (Unilever-Retail and Play)
Ticketing Sales Innovation Award presented by the National Sales Center – Columbus Crew SC (Membership Extension Program)
Social Media Activation of the Year – LA Galaxy (#ThanksLD)
Article of the Year – Columbus Crew SC (Behind the Brand: The Story of #NewCrew)
Video of the Year – Sporting Kansas City (The Benny Feilhaber Show)
Local Digital Editor of the Year – Scott Brown, FC Dallas
Club Broadcast Staff of the Year – Portland Timbers
Match Presentation Staff of the Year – Sporting Kansas CitySupporter Liaison of the Year – Darin Canova, Sporting Kansas City
Security Staff of the Year – FC Dallas
Merchandiser of the Year – Portland Timbers (Gameday Merchandising)
Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Department of the Year presented by MLS WORKS – Portland Timbers
Operations Staff of the Year – New York Red Bulls
Team Administrator of the Year presented by Sportscorp Travel – Juan Romero, New York Red Bulls
Athletic Training Staff of the Year presented by Mueller Sports Medicine – New England Revolution
Equipment Manager of the Year – David Brauzer, D.C. United