HoopsHype Chris McGowan rumors

March 8, 2013 Updates

McGowan is in the preliminary stages of selling the Rose Garden’s naming rights. He hired a company called “Premier Partnership” to facilitate the process. They have a list of about 100 businesses — some local, some national — that have a likelihood of interest. Three or four presentations have already been scheduled. “We’re getting pretty good feedback,” he says. “It could be a local company, which would be great, or it could be a (national) blue-chip brand.” Portland Tribune

McGowan would like to have a contract in place before the 2013-14 NBA season. It’s not a done deal, though, that he’ll make a deal at all. “It’s good for our organization to have this revenue stream,” he says. “All of it would get reinvested into what we do on the court. There are only three NBA teams that don’t have (a naming rights deal). “But I’m going to be very cautious about it. I’m not going to do a deal with the wrong brand. We’re the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rose Garden has a great name. It’s not something we have to do, which is a good position to be in. There are a lot of companies that have to get deals done. We’re not one of them.” Portland Tribune

February 19, 2013 Updates

The NBA's next commissioner, Adam Silver, told CSNNW.com that there is mutual interest from the league and the Portland Trail Blazers to see about bringing All-Star Weekend to the city of Portland. “They (Trail Blazers) have shown interest and we have interest,” Silver said. “It's an ongoing process. Portland is a great city. We like the idea, but it's something we have to investigate further.” CSNNW.com reached out to Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan and he acknowledged that there is a desire to bring the showcase to Portland and he added, “It would be great for the city to host the event.” CSNNW.com

January 14, 2013 Updates

Hours after a dramatic nationally-televised victory over the Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers president Chris McGowan executed his second round of layoffs since joining the organization in October on Friday. In a statement to Blazersedge, McGowan said that the layoffs would be the last of his current restructuring plan. "We concluded our second and final round of staffing restructuring which unfortunately included the elimination of seven positions across our organization," McGowan said in the statement. "These decisions were made because I have determined that we are operating with more staff members than most NBA franchises. Additionally, it has been my goal to restructure the organization by removing layers and creating a more efficient operation. "This restructuring has accomplished these goals and we are now getting more in line with where we need to be in regards to headcount. We believe that this round of restructuring completes our major realignments, but we remain committed to doing those things necessary for the successful operation of the Trail Blazers." Blazers Edge

December 16, 2012 Updates

He could sense it earlier this month, when less than a month into his job he fired three longtime executives, then called a staff meeting to announce the decisions. Afterward, he asked if there were any comments or questions. It was crickets and tumbleweeds. Nobody spoke. It didn't help that he mispronounced the last name of one of the fired employees, who had been there nearly 20 years. And it didn't help that in his speech, he warned that more layoffs could be ahead. "Weird. That was weird," McGowan said last week from his Rose Garden office. "To go into a room with 170 people, and it's only the second time I've addressed the staff in an all-staff fashion, and I'm delivering that unfortunate news to them. And you want to be available to answer questions, but nobody wants to ask in a group setting. ... So, yeah, that wasn't a very good day." Oregonian

It ranks just below his first day, when he was introduced to the media and staff during a press conference at the Rose Garden. He appeared uneasy, and labored through his statement while giving vague answers to questions about his track record and management style. At first blush, he looked like a kid overmatched with responsibility, providing the perfect fodder for speculation that he was merely a puppet to the mysterious and powerful Vulcans in Seattle, who run owner Paul Allen's empire. "I'm not going to lie," McGowan said. "It was my first press conference and I was nervous." Oregonian

He says he is under no directives from Vulcan, "other than to simply run a better organization and improve the results," McGowan said. He says he will run a better organization by being a hands-on, roll-up-his-sleeves executive, which allows him to eliminate some positions that he says have clogged the organization's ability to be efficient. "I'm a real active president. I'm an operator," McGowan said. "I will have more direct reports than previous leaders had, that's just my style. So when you have someone like me, an operator, you can kind of flatten the organization out a little bit." Oregonian

December 7, 2012 Updates

The Portland Trail Blazers have laid off three longtime executives. The Blazers announced the layoffs on Thursday, about a month after Chris McGowan became the new team president. Chief financial officer Gregg Olson had been with the Blazers for 10 years. Michele Daterman, who was the senior vice president of tickets and marketing, and Traci Reandeau, formerly the senior vice president of human resources, both had been with the team for 18 years. Daterman helped develop Portland's "New Team, New Dream" slogan. ESPN.com

This comes in the wake of the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah, who had lobbied hard, but unsuccessfully, for the position of team president over the past few months. Account representatives with the team said Mensah had been increasingly withdrawn since the hire of president Chris McGowan. McGowan said the layoffs were made to "streamline" the management layers, which he called "excessive." I happen to like McGowan. And so with a decade of experience writing columns about this franchise, I offer a bit of advice for the new guy -- this ends badly for you. Oregonian

October 31, 2012 Updates

Chris McGowan will bring an expertise in ticket sales, an open mind and a willingness to let the basketball staff run the basketball operations. That’s the outline McGowan, 39, laid out as he was introduced as the Trail Blazers’ new president and CEO on Tuesday at the Rose Garden. McGowan comes to Portland after the Blazers and parent company Vulcan Sports and Entertainment conducted what Vulcan CEO Peter McLoughlin called an “extensive nationwide search” for a successor to Larry Miller, who resigned in July after five years. McGowan was chief operating officer of AEG Sports, overseeing the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy. “I’ve been working in this industry for 17 years, it’s always been a goal of mine to get the opportunity to lead an organization,” said McGowan, who will start his new job Nov. 12. “I can’t think of a better place than Portland to be able to do that.” Oregonian

October 30, 2012 Updates

The Trail Blazers hired Chris McGowan as president on Monday. He replaces Larry Miller, who replaced Steve Patterson, who replaced Bob Whitsitt. Also, McGowan will work alongside general manager Neil Olshey, who replaced Rich Cho, who replaced Kevin Pritchard, who replaced Patterson, who replaced John Nash, who replaced Whitsitt. Point is, it hasn't felt easy to explain around here since Whitsitt left, has it? The hope here isn't that McGowan will walk on water, or help a basketball team that feels headed to another NBA Draft Lottery find a miracle way out of this mess. Rather, the hope is that McGowan can work closely enough with Olshey to end the convoluted decade of madness and again make the basketball, not the business (or some gobbled combination) feel like it's driving the bus again. Oregonian

Basically, the business runs directly to Seattle. And what of the basketball? Will it run through Seattle, too? Because the best model has the basketball thriving in Portland with Olshey in command, creating the kind of championship-caliber basketball product that fosters so much fresh revenue for the business side that Allen has to dispatch a convoy of armored vehicles to haul the loot north. Tell me where exactly the actual basketball played ranks on Allen's franchise totem pole and I'll tell you whether this hire will work. In the news release on the hiring, there was this tidbit: "Olshey will continue to manage all basketball operations. He will report directly to Allen on basketball operations and collaborate with McGowan on budget and financial matters." Oregonian

October 29, 2012 Updates

The Portland Trail Blazers announced Monday the hiring of Chris McGowan as president and CEO. He replaces former president Larry Miller, who resigned in July and returned to Jordan Brand. The Blazers also announced the resignation of general counsel Mike Fennell on Monday. Here's the team's release announcing McGowan's hiring. The Portland Trail Blazers announced today that Los Angeles sports executive Chris McGowan will be the Trail Blazers' new President and Chief Executive Officer. McGowan joins the Trail Blazers from his position as Chief Operating Officer of AEG Sports, where he has played prominent leadership roles in the reigning NHL champion Los Angeles Kings and the MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy. Blazers Edge

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