Apr, 27, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; A general view during the Oregon Ducks spring game at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
OREGON DUCKS(Autzen Stadium)
The Ducks are in a position of power right now in the conference and they plan on staying there, but it may not be as easy as you might think for the University to sustain its rise. Thanks to the Pac-12 revenue streams, the rest of the conference is catching up. Still, Oregon obviously has an advantage that nobody else has in its back pocket; Phil Knight.
The Hatfield-Howlin Complex, the ridiculously gorgeous new football facility (some of which was funded by Knight) that went up before last season puts UO in an advantageous position to recruit kids that come in, but their pool is still not as large as the California’s, Arizona’s, Texas’s and Ohio’s. Like the other three Northwest teams, recruiting true 5-star athletes consistently is a challenge (though Washington has a significant advantage here as well). There are other challenges as well.
For example average blow-Joe Pac-12 football fan probably is under the impression that the Ducks sell every game out and could expand if they want to, but that’s not necessarily the case. Apparently there are 1-2 games each season that nobody wants to go to (probably a product of some necessarily weak scheduling) and therefore leave a lot of empty space and revenue for Oregon at the alter. Autzen is still a big fish in a small pond, or market as it be.
Eugene is only 156,000 people big while Seattle and surrounding area is over 3,500,000. Basically there is a lot that goes into Husky Stadium being able to sustain 17,500 more seats, but if you were just eye-balling the prospect you might think the Ducks were in just as good a position to expand.
The place is still amazing and the $68,000,000 football facility changes the game for Oregon again, but the school is weighing positives and negatives of true expansion to Autzen as we speak. An interesting thought from those earlier links is that Oregon may consider adding a standing-room only club or pavilion area in the near future that could be used for bigger games and yet be left vacant for games where supply and demand don’t match up as well, but still not be an eyesore.