We just got back from Eugene where it became apparent that a lot of people are not happy with the new stadium plans for the structure that is being built to replace Historic Hayward Field and to host the 2021 World Championships. Many of the locals are opposed or at least concerned and they have many different reasons for their opposition but the one thing that nearly all of them have in common is the fact that they want to see the East Grandstand remain.
It appears that may be the first thing to go as we have received a photo from a source - our "boots on the ground" that still are in Eugene - indicating that the East Grandstand may already be coming down.
With no dog in the fight - we aren't opposed to a new stadium or set on seeing the old structure stay - we will say this.
1) We think the secretive nature of the process is a joke.
Apparently, the University of Oregon is following its traditional playbook that it uses when it builds big sports related things and is leasing Hayward Field to a foundation controlled by Phil Knight for a nominal fee of like $1. The foundation then in turn does what it wants with the venue, which normally entails building a stadium, and then gives it back to the University as a gift. The whole point of this to avoid public oversight and input which normally would be required if it was a project being done by a public university. Just looking at the current Mt. Sac situation, we understand why people would want to limit public input but to totally shut the public out and not give them even the most minimal of information is wrong.
2) In terms of the actual stadium, we think the public has a right to know some very basic facts
i) Will the permanent seats at the track stadium be covered?
Anyone who has been to a meet in Eugene realizes this is necessity for local home meets.
ii)How is the stadium going to look when there are 12,000 permanent seats there and not the 30,000 they are using for Worlds?
The fact that the photos don't differentiate between the temporary and permanent stadium is ridiculous. Can someone tell us for sure if the photo below is for the 30,000 seat venue (we assume it is) or the 12,000 one?
What will the 12,000 version look like and won't 12,000 permanent seats be too many?
The magic of Hayward Field likely will disappear at average meets if there are nearly ten thousands empty seats. The average home attendance at Oregon home meets in recent years is just over 4,000 and that may be dropping. We were told today the U of O gave out 4,000 free tickets to NCAAs (2,000 to kids and 2,000 to their parents) as ticket sales were so anemic.
Thus there appears to be no reason to have a stadium with 12,000 permanent seats considering the current stadium only has a little more than 8,000.
A source in Oregon that we talked to today said they he believe the new design will include some way to cover all of the extra seats to make it look like the new stadium has a decent crowd. Ok, that's a good idea, but can we see how that is going to look? What's wrong with showing us how the permanent stadium will look?
What thoughts do you have?