Over the river and through the woods, the march to Autzen Stadium is one of the greatest experiences in college football. In the heart of the Willamette Valley, Autzen Stadium has played host to the University of Oregon football team since 1967 and is one of most majestic settings across the land.
Since its opening nearly 50 years ago, Autzen has experienced face lift after face lift to make it the spectacle it is today. The original cost for the land and stadium is estimated at $2.5 million. A $90 million dollar renovation/expansion in 2002, which added 12,000 seatbacks and 32 luxury boxes to the south-side was the biggest change to the facility. 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.
The most recent project focused on improving the stark north side with greenery as well as stands commemorating past and current players. The “Zen North” project features a reported 78,000+ plants, 474 LED light fixtures, 306 large trees and six miles of irrigation that enables the foliage to stay hydrated.
“All along, the idea was to respect opponents in this part of the complex,” said Tinker Hatfield to GoDucks’ Rob Moseley, a designer for Nike who helped conceptualize Zen North. “Because if you do come in here and win, you’ve done something. It’s hard.”
Autzen has become one of college football’s most historic and beloved venues in the game, and it’s love is only continuing to grow. The team has risen to unparalleled success, and the Oregon fan base is one of the strongest in the country. In 2011, Oregon led the NCAA in stadium capacity attendance percentage at 110% capacity. Despite a seating max of 54,000 seats, the University of Oregon consistently sells out and is able to sell extra standing room area seats.
The team’s sellout streak is nearing 100 consecutive games, which puts Oregon in the top-10 in FBS at the publication of this article.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Food prices at Autzen Stadium have taken a spike over the last few years. For instance, a favorite in frozen lemonades used to cost $3 about four seasons ago. That rose to $3.50, and it's finally up to $5. Mini pizzas are also expensive at $7. Popcorn (small) and hotdogs are $4.
The only saving grace to the food category is the Moshofksy Center that has a lot of great food options. There's pizza (better pizza), meatball subs, and more. My personal favorite are the subs that come with a salad and cookies. It'll cost around $10, but when you're paying so much for a ticket food prices seem cheap.
There's nowhere in the world like Autzen Stadium. From the walk over that takes you by countless tailgaters sure to pump you up to everything inside... it's stunning. And the recent additions to the north side have been nothing short of breathtaking.
Oregon at one point set a record for crowd noise at over 120 decibels. That's louder than standing next to a jet engine. CollegeDay analyst Lee Corso once said that "Autzen Stadium is the loudest stadium per person that I've ever been in in my entire life."
One SEC coach said that it's "where great teams go to die."
You'd be hard-pressed to find a louder stadium. With that said, Oregon's countless blowouts over the past five seasons combined with increased expectations have made for complacency amongst fans. I'll dive into this further in the "Fans" section.
Watch this video if you want chills...
Autzen used to be out in the middle of nowhere, deserted from the rest of the sports venues. That's no longer the case. Now, the new soccer/lacrosse field (Papé Field) and baseball stadium (PK Park) sit next to it. You still have all the beauty with the added bonus of more action around it.
Also, the newly built Hatfield Dowlin Complex for the athletics department sits next to Autzen, between it and the practice fields. It's quite the scene.
As far as finding grub nearby, your best bet is to go to the O Bar. It's less than a mile away and has amazing food. But if you want the true Ducks football pre/postgame experience, go to campus and try out either Taylor's or Rennie's. Up-and-down 13th Street next to campus, you'll find a plethora of places to dine.
Now before Ducks fans get on me for only giving their team a "4" instead of a "5", hear me out. While Ducks fans are without a doubt the most passionate fans in the Pac-12, they can also be jerks to opposing fans. There's a lot of heckling and booing. But I didn't drop it much because that's just part of the sport. There's no reason to be concerned for safety. The athletic department does a great job keeping everything in line.
And as I said earlier, the energy and enthusiasm at Autzen isn't nearly what it was 10 or even five years ago. The complacency of such dominance has created a slightly different experience than before.
The biggest downside to going to a game at Autzen is the parking. To be blunt, there is no parking at Autzen Stadium. All spots are reserved for tailgaters. And parking on Martin Luther King Boulevard (where the stadium is located) will cost at least $20 per game. If you'd rather not pay and walk, campus is swamped and it's hard to find a spot within three miles.
Unfortunately, for visitors unfamiliar with the surroundings, your best bet is to just pay the $20 and park nearby. Also, expect to be in traffic afterwards for at least an hour.
While the new baseball park, soccer field and athletic department buildings are nice and all, they've created quite the headache for parking. Time for a parking complex? I say yes.
I can't say enough times that every football fan should make their way to Autzen. It's up there with the Coliseum, Death Valley, the Shoe, and every other amazing venue in college football. While you'll have to pay a pretty penny (like, at least $140 per ticket for a good seat) to go, it's so worth it.
Make sure to get a good seat. When you're already paying so much to go, why not go all out? Make sure to make a trip to Autzen!
• The Oregon mascot (Puddles) doing pushups after each score.
• The largest jumbotron in college football.
• Seeing one of college football's elite programs that has competed in four-consecutive BCS bowl games.
• Close design and steep steps that create a great view from every seat.
• The opportunity to see a program on the rise, live.
Autzen Stadium opened in 1967 and is the home of the Oregon Ducks, who play college football in the Pac-10 conference. The stadium holds 59,000 which includes standing room. It's located just north of Williamette River, next to Alton Baker Park. This stadium is consistently ranked among the nation's top 10 venues to watch a college football game.
NFL players of note that have played their college ball at the University of Oregon include New York Jets backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, Baltimore Ravens starting right defensive end Haloti Ngata and running back Jonathan Stewart of the Carolina Panthers.
Located next to the Willamette River, and in the heart of the Willamette Valley, the walk to Autzen through the trees is one of the most breathtaking experiences in all of sports.
Since its opening in 1967 Autzen Stadium has become one of college football’s most historic and beloved venues in the game. The team has risen to unparalleled success, and the Oregon fan base is one of the strongest in the country. In 2011, Oregon led the NCAA in Stadium capacity attendance percentage at 110% capacity. Despite a seating max of 54,000 seats, the University of Oregon consistently sells out and is able to sell extra standing room area seats.
With the team’s 82-game sellout streak in jeopardy for the start of the 2012 season, Ducks fans met the challenge and once again hit the mark with an attendance of 54,116. That streak, as of publication of this article, is now at 83 games and counting.
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