The effort to bring a USL League One team to Portland, ME, has entered a new phase, as investors have raised half-million dollars for a team and is now turning their sights toward a new stadium.
Gabe Hoffman-Johnson, president of Portland’s Topsail Sports & Entertainment, and Jonathan Culley of Redfern Properties LLC are working with the city on a stadium plan.
USL League One is geared toward smaller markets not seen as large enough to support USL Championship play. In terms of media markets, Portland is ranked #79 nationally by Nielsen, followed closely by #80 Toledo and #81 Madison, the best-drawing team in USL League One in 2019. But there are some big markets in USL League One, such as Toronto and Boston, but these are teams controlled by MLS owners.
The pair have been working on a stadium for upwards of eight months, with the obvious goal being a location that can also support development as well as the stadium itself. That’s been the prevalent goal in recent years when it comes to both USL Championship and USL League One, with plans in markets like Pawtucket, RI, still in the planning stages. From Mainebiz:
Culley is a principal at Redfern Properties, which focuses on infill development and other “smart growth” projects, with an emphasis on mixed-use and multi-family development. While Culley didn’t grow up with the sport, he said his three children all play and it’s become a family passion. That includes watching televised games from England on weekends….
“We’re a great sports town, we have had a long history of successful sports franchises in town, and this kind of market scales well,” Hoffman-Johnson told Mainebiz. “I’m a big believer in the power of sports and the beauty of sports in terms of unifying communities and bringing people together.”
Hoffman-Johnson said he and Culley have spent the last six to eight months looking at potential locations for a stadium that have to meet very specific criteria.
The pair even have a name for the proposed USL League One team: Portland United.
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