Get to know sport-obsessed Portland's famed franchises

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Get to know sport-obsessed Portland's famed franchises

Round 12 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship takes place in Portland, Oregon on 24 June, marking the first time Formula E will race in the city. With previous US races in Long Beach, California and Brooklyn, New York City, Portland becomes the third American destination for Formula E, and continues the legacy of racing in sport-obsessed cities. Here's a look at Portland's glittering sporting history.

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As the most populous city in Oregon, Portland is home to three professional sports franchises, each known for incredibly passionate fanbases who are set to add to the atmosphere at the Portland International Raceway for the Southwire Portland E-Prix.

The Blazers holding court in the Pacific Northwest

The Portland Trail Blazers entered the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an expansion team in 1970 and are now the only NBA team based in the Pacific Northwest.

Three-time NBA finalists, the Blazers won their sole NBA championship in 1977 and have qualified for the playoffs 37 times in their history, ranking only behind the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in that timeframe.

Though championship gold has eluded the team since the seventies, the Blazers have enjoyed loyal fandom, selling out 814 consecutive home games between 1977 to 1995, a streak only beaten in US sports by the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

Expect to see plenty of red, black and white outfits in the stands during the Southwire Portland E-Prix, the signature colour scheme of Portland’s basketball team.

'Soccer City'

Portland has been nicknamed ‘Soccer City, USA’ thanks to its thriving soccer culture across both the men’s and women’s game.

TICKETS: The Timbers are in town just before we are, get your tickets here!

The Portland Timbers became the 18th franchise in Major League Soccer in 2011, and won its first MLS Cup just four years later to become national champions in 2015. This success resulted in a waiting list of 10,000 season tickets as the Providence Park stadium in downtown Portland is routinely sold out for games. They're known as amongst the most passionate, vociferous fans in the States and a stadium visit is a must. This writer, for one, will be rushing off the plane to get to Providence Park in the lead up to the E-Prix.

Befitting Formula E’s green credentials, the stadium is within walking distance of downtown hotels, and is accessible via multiple modes of public transportation. The stadium is also home to the Portland Thorns, an inaugural member of the National Women’s Soccer League, and the first champions of the competition.

Now three-time winners, including the most recent season, the Thorns are the most successful team in NWSL history, and also boast the highest average attendance of all sides in the championship.

Other sports

There's also the Portland Pickles - a collegiate baseball team playing in the South Division of the West Coast League. They play at Walker Stadium in Portland's Lents Park and were founded relatively recently, back in 2015.

Pickles

They're Semi-Finals regulars and their recent claim to fame is the nationwide attention sparked by the theft of their unmistakable mascot Dillon T. Pickle.

The Pickles had been on tour in the Dominican Republic when the luggage containing Mr Pickle became separated from the rest of the team's gear. 

TICKETS: Go support the Pickles!

After being found by the airline it was shipped to the wrong address in Portland and stolen from the porch. A picklehunt ensued and eventually, he was safely returned without ransom - dropped off at Voodoo Doughnut by a person wishing to remain anonymous.

Sportswear company Nike was founded in Oregon in 1964, leading to an increase in both recreational and competition running in the state. Both Nike and Adidas house their American operations in the city, and the Portland Marathon has been held in the city since 1971.

In golf, the Portland Classic is the oldest continuous event on the LPGA tour since its first event in 1972, while Portland also hosts the Grand Prix of Portland IndyCar race each year at the Portland International Raceway.