Why are the Portland Thorns being sold? Is it better for the team?

Over the past year the intense public and media focus on the role of the Thorns in the broader systemic NWSL player safety issues and questions about possible changes in ownership have understandably moved the focus away from the players. While it has been a difficult decision for Merritt, he feels that he cannot continue to be an effective owner for the Thorns at the league-level any longer and that the Club would benefit from new ownership and a fresh perspective. Portland’s ownership group helped the NWSL and the Thorns in the first decade and we believe a different leader in its second decade will be a positive change. We’re committed to continuing to work collaboratively with the NWSL to ensure we find the right group to do that. We will not rush to a decision as we want to get it right for our players, for Portland and for women’s soccer. 

Why is Peregrine Sports only selling the Thorns and not the Timbers?

We believe the best path forward for the Thorns is to give new ownership an opportunity to build upon the past 10 years as the league enters a new phase. Our belief in the Thorns and women’s soccer remains unchanged, but leaving what you love for its own betterment is, in this case, the best thing for the Club. New ownership needs to be deeply connected with the NWSL, and be solely focused on the Portland Thorns and women’s soccer in this market. As owner of the Timbers and operator of Providence Park, we are well positioned to ensure the new owners have the resources they need to succeed and grow.   

What is the impact on the Timbers?

Peregrine Sports will continue to own the Portland Timbers. As previously announced, Merritt Paulson has stepped away as CEO of the Timbers and the new female-led leadership team is well-positioned and is looking ahead to an exciting 2023 season. These changes demonstrate our commitment to do what it takes to continue to improve the organization. We look forward to partnering with the Thorns and their new ownership, particularly as it relates to the work we have done in the community through our Stand Together initiative. 

Will Providence Park remain the home stadium for the Thorns?

Providence Park is, and will remain, the home of the Portland Thorns. To that end, we will ensure favorable lease terms that give the Thorns the continuing ability to capitalize on their tremendous popularity in Portland and the benefit of our operational expertise.

Will this impact my annual membership?

No, this announcement does not impact any annual memberships. Should you have any questions about your annual membership, please contact Member Services at: 503-553-5550. Thank you for your continued support of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers.