Autzen Stadium was built at a cost of $2.5 million, of which close to $1 million was raised from 1,000 stadium sponsors who contributed $1,000 each for a 25-year option on two seats in prime location protected from the elements by a cantilever roof.
Autzen Stadium, which replaced historic Hayward Field as the home of Oregon football, is named for the late Thomas J. Autzen, a Portland lumberman, sportsman and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Autzen foundation, which gave the university $250,000 to help finance the project.
In 1969 its first artificial turf was installed, followed by the sand-filled OmniTurf in 1976. The Donald R. Barker Stadium Club, used for meetings and pre- and postgame functions and banquets, was added to the east end zone in 1982.
Improvements completed in 1989 included a three-story building on the north side of the stadium housing 381 seats and twelve private boxes on the second and third levels with concessions and restrooms located on the first level. A new press box facility was added on the south side of the stadium, also in 1989. The Leonard J. Casanova Athletic Center was added west of the stadium in 1991 and the Ed Moshofsky Sports Center on the southwest in 1999.
Following Oregon's first-ever outright Pacific-10 Conference championship and his departure to the NFL after 18 seasons as the Ducks' all-time winningest head coach, the athletic department named the playing surface of Autzen Stadium after Rich Brooks.
Autzen Stadium just underwent it's largest renovation ever. The three-phase expansion added approximately 12,000 seats, bringing the gameday capacity to nearly 54,000. The $89.7 million project also added 32 new skyboxes, a three-story luxury suite, and improved concession stands. The site master plan addressed the needs for improved circulation, parking, transit capacity, accessibility, and pre-game activity amenities (including new restroom facilities).
* Autzen Stadium is home to the University of Oregon football team (located north of the UO campus).
* Built in 1966, Autzen Stadium was named for Tom Autzen, Portland philanthropist who contributed $250,000 to the original construction.
* The first football game was played at the University of Oregon in March 1894. UO defeated Albany College (now Lewis and Clark College) by a score of 44-2.
* Oregon went to its first Rose Bowl in 1917, defeating heavily favored Pennsylvania 14-0.
* Other bowl appearances :
1920 Rose Bowl (lost to Harvard 7-6)
1960 Liberty Bowl (lost to Penn State 10-7)
1963 Sun Bowl (beat SMU 21-14)
1989 Independence Bowl (beat Tulsa 27-24)
1990 Freedom Bowl (lost to Colorado State 32-31)
1992 Independence Bowl (lost to Wake Forest 39-35)
1995 Rose Bowl (lost to Penn State 38-20)
1996 Cotton Bowl (lost to Colorado 38-9)
Plans Unveiled for Autzen Stadium Expansion
Renovations to boost capacity to almost 54,000, including 32 new skyboxes.
November 16, 1999
EUGENE - The University of Oregon will undertake a massive renovation of Autzen Stadium, which will include the addition of more than 12,000 seats as well as amenities geared toward improving guest services for the general public, in what promises to the most ambitious project the athletics department has ever undertaken, according to the Ducks' Director of Athletics Bill Moos.
Included among the improvements will be the creation of concourse walkways to ease accessibility for stadium patrons, improved food service and restroom facilities as well as additional chair-back seating and sky boxes.
The project represents the first major infrastructure enhancement ever to the school's 33-year-old football facility, which was constructed to accommodate 40,000 spectators. It not only will provide the university with a modern venue with increased accessibility for its patrons but will provide the means for additional revenue to diminish the athletic department's financial dependency on the rest of the university.
"This is an extremely exciting time for the University of Oregon and its intercollegiate athletic program," Moos said. "The decision to expand and remodel Autzen Stadium will address a number of concerns that we find ourselves currently facing. The need to secure additional revenue streams in order to ensure our continued success is important to the future of all our sports programs. In addition, the need to add an additional sport, or perhaps sports, will be necessary in order for us to comply with Title IX requirements. The areas of access, improved amenities, and overall comfort for our fans were also important in the decision process.
"I would never have pressed for this project based on the accomplishments that led to the Rose Bowl following the 1994 season. However, since that time, Oregon football has proven to be both successful and stable. We have continued to break attendance and season ticket records, which I believe makes this both a wise and solid decision."
The plans for the stadium expansion call for the additional seating to increase the capacity from 41,698 to a minimum 53,800, with an additional 32 sky boxes to be constructed along the top of the south rim of the stadium. At least 3,000 of the new seats will be located in a covered club section, while an additional 2,000 sideline preferred seats will be available adjacent to the covered area.
Oregon has averaged better than its listed seating capacity for five of the past six years and is anticipating its third crowd of the season in excess of 45,000 for this Saturday's football game with Oregon State. The Ducks have led the Pacific-10 Conference in average attendance as it relates to stadium capacity four times in the past five years, and were forced to suspend season-ticket sales this summer due to high demand for the first time ever.
The architectural firm of Ellerbe Becket has devised plans to blend the addition into the existing stadium structure on the south side in order to maintain the original symmetry of Autzen Stadium, with the gradual curvature of the addition beginning atop the seating in the east and west end zones and increasing towards the 50 yard line. A three-story luxury suite and media facility will rise above the club seating, elevating the south side structure from approximately 80 feet above the walkways outside the stadium to over 146 feet.
A 20,000-square foot all-purpose lounge will be located underneath the luxury suite facility for use on game days as well as non-athletic functions. The primary concourse will then be constructed beneath the entire seating addition at the same elevation as currently atop both end zones.
In addition, a horizontal cross aisle will be built midway into the south side addition, increasing seating accessibility and easing the pedestrian flow for spectators without having them start from the top or bottom of the stadium.
Funding for the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in the winter/spring 2000, will derive primarily from private gifts and stadium revenue. The cost of the improvements is estimated to be between $70 and $80 million, with the project slated for completion in time for the start of the 2002 football season.
The athletics department already has secured pledges from anonymous donors to cover in excess of 60 percent of the cost of construction.
The master plan is designed to establish a main entrance into the entire athletics department complex, which includes the Len Casanova Athletic Center and the Ed Moshofsky Sports Center, on the south side of Autzen Stadium. It also includes tying together all elements of the Ducks' athletic facilities surrounding Autzen Stadium, revising entrances in and out of the stadium for more efficient access as well as addressing improved arteries to help facilitate increased capacity for mass transit traffic.
The skyline around the rim of the stadium, which opened during the fall of 1967, was first altered with the addition of the Barker Stadium Club above the east end zone in 1982. The university then added a structure along the stadium's north rim encompassing a 400-seat master sky suite and 12 individual sky boxes in 1988, with the revenue helping fund construction of the Casanova Center.
Those sky suites currently lease for $30,000 per year, in addition to the cost of the game tickets.
"With the completion of this project I feel that we can legitimately say that our facilities are among the very best in the nation," Moos added. "With that will come continued success that has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a source of pride for the people of the state of Oregon."
The announcement of the stadium renovation comes 15 months following the dedication of the university's Moshofsky indoor practice facility, which was completed at a cost of $15 million. Since 1995, Oregon has invested $30 million in facility improvements, which include the indoor practice facility and McArthur Court.
Ellerbe Becket is an international architectural and engineering design firm, with offices in seven U.S. cities and six countries. Their sports facility branch is located in Kansas City, Mo., and has been responsible for the design of such facilities as The Rose Garden in Portland, Bank One Ballpark and America West Arena in Phoenix, as well as the downtown Seattle football stadium which is to be the future home for the Seattle Seahawks. In addition, it has designed collegiate football stadium renovations at Notre Dame, Missouri, Las Vegas and Southern Methodist, as well as the new basketball arena at the University of California which is scheduled to open this year.
Oregon's Autzen Stadium, consistently ranked among the nation's top 10 venues to watch a college football game, only got better in 2002.
Beginning its 37th season, the facility which originally was completed for a remarkable bargain of approximately $2.5 million in 1967, underwent a $90 million facelift that not only added 12,000 seats and 32 luxury boxes to the stadium's south-side skyline, it improved the amenities that allows spectators to enjoy a better game-day experience in one of the loudest collegiate stadiums in the country. The renovation encompassed much-needed restroom and concession facilities, a 10,000-square foot entertainment center (Club at Autzen), widened walkway and concourse areas to better accommodate the increased capacity from 41,698 to 54,000 fans, as well as new ticket distribution centers and guest services windows to cater to the needs of its patrons.
"Autzen's 59,000 strong make the Big House [Michigan] sound like a pathetic whimper. It's louder that 'The Swamp' at Florida, 'The Shoe' in Columbus and 'Death Valley' at Louisiana State. Autzen Stadium is where great teams go to die."
- Michigan Daily, September 2003
The result was a record number of fans (450,730) flocking to an athletic arena which has witnessed more than four million fans walking through the turnstiles to watch Oregon football since 1987. Further emphasizing its popularity is the fact the Ducks have exceeded per-game seating capacity on a season basis seven of the last eight years and enter this season boasting of a school-record 24 consecutive sellouts.
The history of Autzen Stadium is rich. Former Athletic Director Leo Harris was successful in spearheading the drive to construct a modern and economical football theater to replace historic Hayward Field. Named in honor of Portland lumberman, sportsman and philanthropist Thomas J. Autzen, the stadium is situated on a 90-acre site adjacent to the north bank area of Eugene's Alton Baker Park. The site is north of the Willamette River and is approximately one-quarter mile north of the main campus, easily accessible by a scenic footbridge.
Following Oregon's first outright Pacific-10 Conference championship, the athletic department named the playing surface of Autzen Stadium after its winningest football coach of all time Rich Brooks in 1995.
Autzen's natural grass playing surface underwent it?s first facelift in 1969 with the installation of its first artificial turf. The surface was replaced in 1976 and a new covering of OmniTurf was installed before the 1984 campaign. The field was replaced with a OmniTurf surface prior to the 1991 season. In 2001, Ducks played on NexTurf before upgrading its surface to FieldTurf in 2002, which has polyethylene and polypropylene fibers designed to resist extreme temperature and weather conditions.
The skyline of Autzen Stadium also was first improved in 1981 with the addition of the Barker Stadium Club behind the east end zone. The facility provided the stadium with additional meeting space and functional surroundings for pre-game activities prior to subsequent improvements.
One of the most significant improvements in the history of the athletics department was completed in time for the start of the 1988 season. The press box along the north rim of the stadium was relocated to the south side to make room for the $2.3 million three-story skysuite complex. The project included the construction of 11 individual sky boxes along with a 460-seat master skysuite, with the revenue generated from the leases serving as the cornerstone for financing of the construction of the Len Casanova Athletic Center.
A $4 million MegaVision four-color video display scoreboard was added to the skyline in 1998. Measuring 88 feet by 56 feet at its extreme points, the structure almost doubled the size of the previous scoreboard.
In the first game played at Autzen Stadium, nationally ranked Colorado defeated Oregon, 17-13, on Sept. 23, 1967, before a regional television audience. The program recorded its initial and only win in the first-year stadium that same season on Oct. 21 vs. Idaho, 31-6.
Since its opening, the Ducks have proceeded to accrue a home-field record 118-82-5 (.588), including a 32-4 ledger from the start of the 1997 season until now. Oregon established a new stadium record for consecutive victories with its 11th straight triumph coming by way of a thrilling triple-overtime win over USC in 1999, and extended that streak to a national-best of 23 wins in a row before Stanford curtailed the second-longest streak in conference history on Oct. 20, 2001 (49-42).
The program's 14 straight Pac-10 wins during that tenure (1997-01) remains a league record, surpassing USC's previous conference pinnacle (12, 1986-89).
The Ducks went undefeated at Autzen Stadium for the first time ever with their 7-0 record in 1990 and since have duplicated the unbeaten feat in 1998, 1999 and 2000.