Home Field Advantage

The training staff uses about 1,500 yards of athletic tapeto get players ready for kickoff. That’s nearly enough tape to stretch from Autzen Stadium to Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon athletes might be famous for their breakaway speed, but their endurance isn’t too shabby, either. According to data collected using a GPS tracking device, the team’s defensive backs and linebackers cover as many as 2,600 yards in a game. And that’s nothing compared to practice. During Coach Helfrich’s fast-paced training sessions, players sometimes run more than 5,200 yards (about three miles) in full pads. It’s no wonder the Ducks own the fourth quarter!

Oregon players lose two to four pounds of sweat during a typical game, but when it comes to rehydration, not all sweat is created equal. With the help of some cutting-edge science, the team’s nutrition staff calculates each athlete’s sweat composition and determines the amount of electrolyte replacement they need after practice and competition. Some athletes are fine rehydrating with water, but others need to replace large amounts of salt as well. For example, one current player sweats out more sodium per liter than the recommended daily allowance for an entire day.

Each team must submit six to eight (fully-inflated) footballs to the officials on game day. That number doubles in the event of rain showers, but mercifully it never rains at Autzen Stadium.

Consistently ranked as one of the loudest venues in college football, the 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium reportedly hit 127.2 decibels of ear-piercing sound during the Ducks’ victory over USC in 2007 (by comparison, rock concerts rarely eclipse 120 dB). Some experts have concluded that the bowl’s steep stands amplify the sound. Others cite the press box’s characteristic overhang, which may prevent noise from escaping the stadium. Our favorite explanation here at Oregon Quarterly: Ducks fans are simply the loudest in the country.

Oregon fans may have frosty feelings for the Husky Dawgs, but they do seem to love their game-day hot dogs. In 2014, the Autzen faithful chowed down on approximately 4,470 franks per game—enough to throw a block party for the entire town of Oakridge. 

When Ducks fans flock into Autzen Stadium, greenbacks flood into the Oregon economy. That’s one finding from a 2012 economic analysis by UO economist Tim Duy that showed that out-of-state visitors spent $31.8 million while attending on-campus athletic events. Football games were the big-ticket item, with 53,922 out-of-state visitors spending an average of $302.36 per game.

In 2014, the university’s recycling and composting programs helped Autzen Stadium achieve a 43 percent diversion rate for game-day waste—up from 20 percent in 2010. The football program also donates thousands of pounds of unused concession food to Food for Lane County each year, in addition to encouraging food donations at the football team’s annual spring game.

Can you hear me now? Thanks to stadium improvements in 2014, more Oregon fans can now answer “yes.” Following years of poor cell phone service in Autzen’s crowded bowl, AT&T and Verizon Wireless teamed up to add dozens of antenna throughout the stadium, making it easier for fans to call friends at home and ask, “DID YOU SEE THAT ROYCE FREEMAN TOUCHDOWN!?!”

—By Ben DeJarnette