Burgerville signs on to sponsor Portland Timbers

Team will join Major League Soccer in 2011

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

Published:

 

Vancouver-based Burgerville announced Wednesday it has signed as a sponsor of the Portland Timbers. The team will debut as a Major League Soccer team for the 2011 season.

As part of the agreement, Burgerville will enjoy exclusive burger concession sales at home games, using its Nomad mobile kitchen as a selling venue at the Timber’s home stadium, Portland’s PGE Park. Burgerville also will sponsor a 25-seat section of the stadium and partner with the Timbers to donate those tickets to children and their families.

“The Timbers really want to give back to the community,” said Cathy Miller, Burgerville’s director of marketing. She said that was one reason Burgerville decided to become a sponsor.

In the 1990s, Burgerville decided to exercise its sense of social responsibility by focusing on locally grown and produced ingredients. It then added sustainability programs, such as restaurant food-waste composting. More recently, the company began issuing customer receipts that provide nutritional information and calorie counts of individual orders.

“We are thrilled to be able to join in this unique partnership with Burgerville,” said Merritt Paulson, president of the Timbers.

Burgerville’s 39 restaurants in Oregon and Washington will sell tickets to Timbers’ games.

Miller said she could not reveal the financial terms of the deal.

“It’s a win-win. We think it will drive sales to our restaurants and it gives them a new outlet for ticket sales,” she said.

She said both entities see opportunities to cross-promote Burgerville and the Timbers.

Miller expects brisk concession sales of Burgerville hamburgers and fries at Timber games. She said the company might also test new items at soccer games, which enjoy an international following.

“I think that’s an interesting idea to introduce new menu items” for soccer crowds, Miller said.

The company’s head chefs present new selections every six weeks, such as this month’s grilled coho salmon sandwich, served with a side of golden fried asparagus spears.

“We’re trying to create an approach where anybody can find something to eat at Burgerville.”

The company was founded by George Propstra, a Vancouver businessman who opened the first Burgerville restaurant in 1961.

Propstra died in 2004, after transferring the majority ownership of the parent company to his family.

The Timbers have been part of the local sports landscape since 1975. In 2009, the team was OK’d to move up to the Major League Soccer level.