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Official Review by Paul Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Matthew Knight Arena, named after the son of Nike founder and University of Oregon alumnus Phil Knight, is the home for Oregon basketball and volleyball. In addition to sporting events, non-university related activities such as concerts, monster truck rallies and the like are held in the arena. Opened in 2011, the MKA (as it’s known by many fans) replaced the Ducks longtime home at McArthur Court, where they resided from 1926 – 2011.
McArthur Court was no doubt a classic venue, but one that was ready to be replaced. Matthew Knight Arena provides more restrooms, concessions, TVs in the concourse, and better seating than its predecessor.
There are a handful of Duck alumni playing professional ball in 2015. Representing the U of O in the NBA are Luke Ridnour (Magic) and Aaron Brooks (Bulls). Tajuan Porter currently plays in the NBA D-League. Former Duck players in Europe include, Chris Christofferson (Denmark), Bryce Taylor (Germany), E.J. Singler (Estonia) and Malik Hairston (Italy).
The Oregon basketball program is on the rise. In 2008-09 the Ducks had a horrid record of 8-23 (2-16 in conference). Steadily, the program improved. The Ducks have made appearances in the NCAA tournament in 2013 and 2014, and look to make it three in a row in 2015. The future looks very bright for the Ducks.
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".
Fans can expect most of the normal fare at concessions at Matthew Knight Arena. Hot dogs ($5), popcorn ($4), souvenir soda ($5), and nachos ($7) are available. Some specialties available are a Pacific Salmon sandwich for $10, a Hawaiian plate for $10, and hand carved turkey or roast beef sandwich on ciabatta for $11 (very good). A practice gym on the outside part of the arena has beer and wine for $7 and $8 respectively, and the consumption of these beverages is confined to that room.
As with other sporting events sponsored by the University of Oregon, the buzz in the stands is very impressive. Big game atmosphere is what you can expect when attending a basketball game at MKA. The staff has fun at some unsuspecting fans expense when they activate "Oblivicam." It's humorous watching someone on the screen until they realize what's going on. There are student free throw and 3 point competitions during breaks and halftime as well as musical chairs for kids and the ever popular "Shell Game" type entertainment on the video board hanging over the floor.
Of course, the signature feature of Matthew Knight Arena is its unique floor design. Meant as a nod to the program's history, and the team that won the 1939 NCAA Championship, the floor depicts "The Tall Firs." This is both the nickname of that championship club, but also a tribute the natural beauty of the state of Oregon.
MKA is situated on the edge of the University of Oregon campus. A residential section is directly behind the arena with other school buildings and dormitories very close as well. Hayward Field, Oregon's track & field home is also very close. Hayward Field hosts the annual Prefontaine Classic, an event named after former U of O standout and 1972 Olympic distance runner Steve Prefontaine.
There are many restaurants very close to the arena, including Café Seoul, House of Chen, and Track Town Pizza (a local favorite). If you are coming from out of town, there are quite a few lodging options nearby. Best Western and Holiday Inn are just a sampling of the options available.
The fan base at an Oregon sporting event is like no other school in the Pac 12. One can argue that the fans in Eugene should receive a one star rating or a five star rating. This reviewer leans toward the latter. I find Duck fans to be vocally passionate. The MKA gets as loud as any arena I have ever been to. The student section is vocal whenever the visitors have the ball. The crowd is engaged and reacts to the action on the floor. At most sporting events, you can find a few fans that are socializing and not paying attention, but not here. Duck fans love their teams, and it shows at the MKA.
As with any sporting event affiliated with the University of Oregon, parking is a big negative. There is no parking structure or specific lot for fans at Matthew Knight Arena. Parking on the street or in business lots for a fee is the norm. Most lots have parking spots available in the $10 range, which is fairly reasonable. The arena is at the edge of a residential neighborhood, so even street space is limited. If and when you find parking, be prepared to walk a ways, sometimes up to 15 minutes.
Once you get there though, MKA has nice wide aisles, plenty of room for all fans to navigate. Bathrooms are nice and big to accommodate large crowds.
Regular season single game tickets are $14-$53 depending on the opponent. The padded stadium seating is very comfortable. There are activities for everyone to enjoy aside from the game itself. If you are not attending a sporting event, the venue has all the necessary features for an enjoyable experience. Attending an event at MKA is a first class occurrence and well worth the price of a ticket. A Duck basketball game is akin to attending an NBA game, only on a slightly smaller scale.
On the day of this review, Oregon's 2014 Pac-12 football championship trophy was on display as well as the Ducks' Rose Bowl trophy and Marcus Mariotta's Heisman Trophy. Fans could get their picture taken with these trophies and have a life-long souvenir from their trip to MKA. As a halftime attraction, the football team was brought out to center court as an acknowledgement of the team's achievements this last year.
The Duck Store has anything a Duck fan might want. Items range from hats ($25-$30), t shirts ($10-$30), sweatshirts, team gear, window stickers, and license plate frames. You name it, they have it.
One extra point for the unique floor design. Some like it, and some hate it, but there is no doubt that it is one-of-a-kind.
A trip to an Oregon basketball game should be on any fans bucket list. The arena is modern with fantastic sightlines throughout the facility.
Member Review by anderso3
It is not often that a person will see a stadium and instantaneously think, "Wow, this is the future of stadiums." However, when you first gaze upon Matthew Knight Arena, you get that exact feeling; the feeling that every new basketball arena built from now on will have its roots in Matthew Knight Arena.
Home of not only the Oregon Duck Men's and Women's Basketball teams, Matthew Knight Arena plays host to the Oregon Duck Women's Volleyball team as well as various community and sponsored events (such as Cirque du Soleil, the Harlem Globetrotters, etc.). Sticking out like a sore thumb just off of the University of Oregon main campus, Matthew Knight imposes itself as one of the most interestingly designed buildings in the nation, resembling a somewhat downsized version of the Staples Center. Designed and sponsored by Nike's co-founder and University of Oregon alum Phil Knight, this arena is a magnificent experience to boast about in any sort of manner.
Officially opening for Pac-10 Basketball play on January 14, 2011, Matthew Knight offers a unique environment that rivals the best college arenas throughout the nation. Building off of its MacArthur Court roots, Matthew Knight has a very intimate feel to it while also giving fans an optimal stadium experience. Boasting a capacity crowd of 12,500, Matthew Knight erects an ear-splitting chorus of rabid Duck fans that makes it one of the toughest places to play in the country.
Member Review by AlexShoemaker on Apr 12, 2013
Like everything the University of Oregon does, Matthew Knight Arena gives fans a basketball experience full of flash and excitement. MKA is home to the men’s basketball team, women’s basketball, as well as volleyball, acrobatics and tumbling. Famous performances like the Harlem Globe Trotters, Cirque du Soleil, monster truck rallies, rodeos and more have also gone at the arena.
Prior to the movement to MKA, Oregon athletics played their home games at McArthur Court from 1926-2011. The outdated building, one of the oldest in all of college basketball was vacated for the Ducks’ current home. Oregon was a struggling program before the move, going an embarrassing 8-23 (2-16) in 2008-09 and 16-16 (7-11) in 2009-10. On January 14, 2011 Oregon made it’s home debut in the new arena. Since, Oregon men’s basketball has seen a spike in productivity finishing 2011 as CBI champions, making a deep run into the 2012 NIT and finishing 2013 in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Oregon is a program on the rise, and there’s no doubt the new facility has keyed their ascent to the top.
1809 Franklin Blvd
Eugene, OR 97403
1861 Franklin Blvd
Eugene, OR 97403
2117 Franklin Blvd
Eugene, OR 97403
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1655 Franklin Blvd
Eugene, OR 97403
2117 Franklin Blvd
Eugene, OR 97403