On Wednesday, Trail Blazers team president Chris McGowan, vice president/general manager of the Rose Quarter Chris Oxley and vice president of premium seating Anthony Jones-Deberry hosted a tour at the Moda Center to show off some of the newest capital improvements of a $16 million renovation of the almost 20 year-old building. After upgrading concessions on the 100 level last year, improvements to the concourse on the club level, remodeled suites and a new bar on the 300 level overlooking the westside of Portland are currently being worked on, with the expectation being that all of the most recent upgrades will be completed in time for the 2014-15 NBA season.
“When people come to events at the Rose Quarter, we want it to be special and we feel the Rose Quarter is part of that experience,” said McGowan. “Maybe a year and a half ago, when the fountain wasn’t working, the lighting wasn’t on the arena, the landscaping wasn’t what we would like it to be and we didn’t have a place like Dr. Jack’s to go to, people were just kind of walking over the Rose Quarter, coming in and watching an event. We think we can do better than that. With all the stuff you’ve seen on the Rose Quarter, people can come a little bit earlier and enjoy their time coming to an event or a concert. And then afterward, if they want to let traffic die down or wait for a train, you have a place to go to as well. We’re extending that event experience for everyone who comes to the Rose Quarter.”
The club level, after years of serving an all-you-can-eat buffet to club level ticket holders, will now function more like a standard concourse, with concession stands similar to those on the 100 level.
“We were an all-inclusive club environment going on eight years,” said Oxley. “It wasn’t, I think, the right business-to-business environment that we were looking for. To our club level constituency, it didn’t necessarily play into the premium level experience. What was up here before was all-inclusive, chef’s table buffet-like environment. Those are going away specifically to go back to a premium concession environment where club level guests will have store value on their ticket essentially.”
Now, those who purchase club level tickets will receive a $30 credit per game which can be used to purchase concessions at Bunk, The Nook, Cha! Cha! Cha!, Salt & Straw and Hot Stone on the club level or any of the other concession stands throughout the Moda Center. The credit can also be used to purchase merchandise at any of the fan shops on the concourse.
“We’re reinventing the culinary experience in its entirety for our premium seat holders, adding six new high-end concession locations up on the club level,” said Oxley. “We’re going away from an all-inclusive environment on the club level to a premium concession environment that has more point of sale, more variety, more options.”
“We had Bunk sandwiches up on the 300 level last year. It was a real destination, I think, for people all through the building. We’re trying to get people to move around the concourses and different levels a lot more than they have in the past. This is a great opportunity, I think, to the exclusivity of the club level for Bunk Sandwiches to have a really marque location here. This was a general concession stand before.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“We’re really looking forward to bringing Cha! Cha! Cha! into the Moda Center. This is their first introduction into the building. Mexican, obviously, is a great seller, particularly when you have a lot of diversity. A good Mexican concept is ideal for us as a location. A very approachable location.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“Italian as a type of food was called out within a club level survey of that we did as to what is missing the most (from the club level). So we’ve designed Hot Stone. We’ll be doing pizza ,we’ll be doing baked ziti. On one side you’ll have all the hot food and point of sale, then on the left side we’ll do Italian sodas, cappuccinos and tiramisu. So it’s going to be a full-service Italian location for the club level.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“Junction 5 is probably the closest ode to a traditional location that we’ll have on this level. The top sellers in a food and beverage environment are always going to be hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, pretzels, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t provide those offerings. But it will be a unique twist in terms of Junction 5, where there will be a fully developed condiment location. So if you have the ability to be creative with your food, you’re going to have that at Junction 5.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
As a part of the improvements, all of the Moda Center’s suites will be completely remodeled, with 21 of the arena’s private suites this year and 10 more next year, and the construction of never-before-available “Studio Suites” and a premium “365 Studio.”
“It’s a double suite (pictured above), which is something that we’re contemplating doing as well. From a capacity perspective, this size works when you want to entertain here. I think the look and feel is great, the lighting is great, it feels modern, it’s open. I think one of the problems if you look at our older suites and what we’re doing with the executive suites, people want an open feel where they can stand up, mingle at a high table, have some food, have a cocktail while they’re watching the game as well. So I really feel good about how we’ve opened these suites up.” — Chris McGowan, Trail Blazers president and CEO
“The whole point was to not only modernize the suites but also we had to create some differentiation amongst our suites sizes. Basically, our suite product was essentially all the same. We had the party suite, which can hold 100-plus people, but the other 66 suites that we had were all the exact same, they all had the exact same look, the exact same feel. The truth of the matter is that as we a number of clients, not only our executive suite clients who have suites on longterm leases, but also our nightly suite rentals, they have varying needs in regards to size and the number of people they want to entertain at a given moment. So what we’ve done is created a new product.” — Anthony Jones-Deberry, VP of premium seating
“This is the first renovation to the exterior of the Moda Center in it’s history,” said Oxley. “We’ve coined it “The Pines.” This is an ode to our 300 level demographic and something we’re really excited about offering to the folks who sit in the upper deck. This used to be an outdoor smoking area, and now we’re in a position to offer this really unique bar venue with a food component associated with it as well with views of the city that are not found anywhere else from the eastside.”
Everybody is really excited about this opportunity. It was an underutilized space for many years. It overlooks the Essential Forces fountain, Dr. Jack’s, the city, Broadway Bridge and downtown. Really a unique opportunity. I think we’ll have people coming from the 100 level just to check out the space. I think that’s what makes it so cool is we’ve created an environment that’s going to be really special for these folks. — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
“A really unique environment. We’ve made a very conscious engagement to keep it bright and alive and open and create these floor-to-ceiling glass views of not only downstairs in the Rose Quarter but pretty much all of downtown. At night, truly spectacular and unmatched in terms of views from this side of town.” — Chris Oxley, VP/GM of the Rose Quarter
It’s well known that Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has many interests. While practicing and playing basketball is how he spends the vast majority of his time, the 6-3 guard out of Weber State is an aspiring rapper, a pitchman for the likes of adidas, JBL and Spalding and an ambassador for Special Olympics. And now, he can add “cartoon character” to his list of roles, as he, along with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Indiana’s Paul George voiced characters for an upcoming episode of “We Bare Bears” on Cartoon Network…
Some additional information from the folks at Cartoon Network…
… A special episode of the Cartoon Network Original Series We Bare Bears, featuring Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard, premiering Thursday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. (ET/PT). The episode, “Charlie Ball,” features characters voiced by the players. The “All-Star” episodes of Teen Titans Go! and We Bare Bears will replay on Cartoon Network throughout NBA All-Star weekend.
Cartoon Network continues its NBA All-Star 2016 celebration with special segments integrated into some of its leading television shows beginning on Thursday, Feb. 11. Through its popular CN Sayin’ app, Cartoon Network will provide kids with an opportunity to send questions via video submissions to their favorite NBA players. Select questions and responses will then be featured within Cartoon Network’s on-air integrations throughout NBA All-Star.
Sports-themed episodes of Cartoon Network series will be available on VOD and TVE. Highlights from the All-Star special episodes of We Bare Bears and Teen Titans Go! will be on Cartoon Network’s YouTube Channel, the Cartoon Network app, CartoonNetwork.com, as well as VOD.
Not being named to the 2016 All-Star Game was certainly disappointing, but being immortalized in an All-Star themed cartoon seems like a decent consolation prize.
PORTLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers saw both a seven-game homestand and a five-game winning streak come to an end with a 110-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors in front of a sellout crowd of 19,393 Thursday night at the Moda Center. What’s more, the win was Toronto’s first in Portland since the 2006-2007 season, ending Portland’s seven-game home winning streak versus the NBA’s lone Canadian squad.
“Toronto is a good team, I think that’s pretty obvious,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “They’re a very good team and there’s a reason why they’re the second-best team or have the second-best record in the East. I thought we were close — obviously the first quarter getting behind (14) — but they shot the ball extremely well.”
With the loss, the Trail Blazers fall short of getting back to .500 for the first time since the second week of November. Portland is now 24-26 overall and 15-11 at home this season. The win moves the Raptors to 34-16 and is their 13th victory in their last 14 games.
While it wasn’t a wire-to-wire victory for the road team, the Trail Blazers’ lone lead came after less than a minute had elapsed in the first quarter. The Raptors would take a 14-point lead by the end of the quarter.
“Our first quarter defense wasn’t even close to being good enough, especially against a playoff team, a really good team like them” said Damian Lillard. “They shot the ball really well and we made a few mistakes that allowed them to get themselves going and start believing. You have to take your hat off to them, they;re a really good team and they brought a real challenge to us. Hopefully the next time we play them we’ll come out and have a better start.”
In a trend that would continue for the majority of the night, every time the Trail Blazers would succeed in cutting into the Raptors’ lead, Toronto, usually led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, were always able answer with a few timely baskets or defensive play to keep Portland at bay. Portland had a chance to cut Toronto’s lead to three with 35 seconds to play after a Lillard steal, but CJ McCollum couldn’t get the midrange shot on the ensuing fastbreak to fall.
“It’s a shot I hit nine out of 10, easily,” said McCollum. “Left it a little short. Can’t happen. End of the game, that’s a big possession, open shot, open look. I hit that then it’s a three-point game, 36 second left, don’t need to foul, we can play it out. It’s a good learning experience.”
The Trail Blazers were led by Lillard, who scored just six points on 1-of-7 shooting in the first half before finishing with 27 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. His first three-pointer, which didn’t come until the fourth quarter, made him just the third player in NBA history to make at least 125 three-pointers in each of his first four season. Lillard also added 11 assists for his 12th double-double of the season.
McCollum went 8-of-18 from the field and 4-of-6 from three to finish with 21 points, six rebounds and two assists. Allen Crabbe scored 17 points off the bench and Gerald Henderson added 10 to round out Portland’s double-digit scorers. Henderson’s ninth point Thursday night gave him 6,000 points for his career.
Portland forward Maurice Harkless started Thursday’s game in place of Noah Vonleh, who sat out with a sprained left ankle, and finished with two points, two points, two blocks and a steal in 16 minutes.
Toronto’s starting backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan combined for 59 points on 21-of-44 shooting. Jonas Valanciunas put up a double-double of 14 points, 11 rebounds. Portland native Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph each scored 12 points off the bench.
Next up, the Trail Blazers hit the road for the first time in nearly three weeks to take on the Rockets in Houston. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 pm.
The NBA announced the participants Saturday night events at the 2016 All-Star Weekend in Toronto on TNT Thursday night, with Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum being one of the eight players selected to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
Here’s what McCollum had to say about being selected to participate in the Skills Challenge, his chances of winning the event, not being “cool,” the addition of power forwards and centers and what else he’ll be up to in Toronto…
Your thoughts on being invited to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. You had said you wanted to compete in at least one of the events at All-Star, sounds like someone was listening.
CJ McCollum: “I would have liked to be in the Three-Point Contest too, but I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Skills Challenge. I look forward to trying to bring home another winning trophy like Dame did.”
When did you find out you were selected?
CJ McCollum: “A couple of weeks ago.”
Damian won it twice, I assume he’ll probably give you some pointers. But that’s got to be some pressure too considering he’s going to rib you if you won’t win it.
CJ McCollum: “Nah, no pressure. This is all in good fun, it’s a competitive environment, the juices will be flowing. I’ll definitely get some pointers from him, get a little bit of practice in next week.”
What do you feel like you bring to the Skills Challenge that will put you in a good position to win it?
CJ McCollum: “I’m gonna go hard and try to win. I ain’t going to be cool like a lot of those other guys. Hopefully they continue to try to be cool; I’ll go hard. Get in and out of cuts, try to make crisp passes, knock down the shot and keep it moving.”
You mentioned practice. You going to wait until you get in Toronto or put in some time before that?
CJ McCollum: “I’ll probably practice here next week, get a couple runs in.”
What do you think about the field? They’re letting bigs in this year.
CJ McCollum: “Yeah, I see we got a lot of big men in there. They’re shooting threes now days, they’re becoming more well-rounded. Glad to see them competing in this as well and hopefully a guard brings home the championship, not a big.”
I think a lot of people are picking last year’s winner, Patrick Beverley, or Isaiah Thomas as the favorites. How do you like your chances?
CJ McCollum: “I like my chances. I feel like I’ve got a pretty good chance at winning. Obviously it’s about getting the pass in there, making sure you make the jumpshot and everything else should be easy.”
A lot of guys who come up playing basketball participate in three-point or dunk contests, but have you ever done anything similar to the Skills Challenge?
CJ McCollum: “No, I’ve done three-point competitions before, but never a skills setting like this.”
You mentioned you were planning on going to All-Star Weekend even if you weren’t selected to compete in an event, so what else do you have scheduled for Toronto?
CJ McCollum: “I’ll be at the Players Association meeting on Friday. I have a couple of events with my sponsors, I think I’ll have something with Mountain Dew, a couple NBA Cares events and then I also sit on a panel. And I think I might do a segment for Inside Stuff while I’m there, maybe a community service event as well. But I don’t have my full schedule yet.”