Nike’s Phil Knight funds ‘$270 MILLION’ renovation for University of Oregon’s new track stadium


The University of Oregon will soon re-open its 100-year-old track stadium, Hayward Field, following a renovation that cost donors like Nike co-founder Phil Knight $270 million — and possibly more.

New amenities include a 10-story tower abutting the field, a museum, class rooms, warm-up areas, and even a barber shop.

Knight, an 83-year-old billionaire who has reportedly given over $1 billion to his alma mater over the years, is not revealing how much the renovations cost, but from The Wall Street Journal‘s reporting, that figure appears to be well above the price of any other collegiate track stadium. (Forbes estimates the Knight family is worth over $50 billion)

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The University of Oregon will soon re-open its 100-year-old track stadium, Hayward Field, following a renovation that cost donors like Nike co-founder Phil Knight around $270 million

Athletes compete in the women's 400 meter dash final during Day Three of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 24, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon

Athletes compete in the women’s 400 meter dash final during Day Three of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 24, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon

Knight, an 83-year-old billionaire who has reportedly given over $1 billion to his alma mater over the years, is not revealing how much the renovations cost, but from The Wall Street Journal 's reporting, that figure appears to be well above the price of any other collegiate track stadium. (Forbes estimates the Knight family is worth over $50 billion)

Knight, an 83-year-old billionaire who has reportedly given over $1 billion to his alma mater over the years, is not revealing how much the renovations cost, but from The Wall Street Journal ‘s reporting, that figure appears to be well above the price of any other collegiate track stadium. (Forbes estimates the Knight family is worth over $50 billion)

New amenities for Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon include a 10-story tower abutting the field, a museum, class rooms, warm-up areas, and even a barber shop (pictured)

New amenities for Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon include a 10-story tower abutting the field, a museum, class rooms, warm-up areas, and even a barber shop (pictured) 

Renovations to Hayward Field were announced in 2018. The stadium could open next month

Renovations to Hayward Field were announced in 2018. The stadium could open next month

‘I never talk about how much on gifts,’ Knight told The Wall Street Journal in an email, while revealing that he and his wife Penny did make the largest donation.

Officially, according to the athletic department financial disclosure report, the price tag is a whopping $270,047,937.

For comparison, the University of Arkansas’s John McDonnell Field — one of the top track facilities in the country — has cost around $34 million in construction and renovation since it was erected in 1998, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The finished Hayward Field will have permanent seating for 12,650 and the capacity to hold around 25,000, according to the school. The facility also has indoor warm-up and training areas as well as a weight room.

But aside from those practical installations, there are other special features, such as a lounge, museum, classroom space, a sports clinic, and a lab for the department of human physiology. There is even a barbershop and a foosball table that uses Duck figurines in the shape of the school’s mascot.

The stadium could open as soon as next month, pandemic and local health guidelines permitting, and in June it’s scheduled to host the US Olympic Track and Field trials, which were postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Knight, who was once a distance runner at the school under coach Bill Bowerman, has dedicated the project and much of Nike’s success to his mentor.

‘If there was no Bill Bowerman, there would have been no me,’ Knight has said.

Abutting the field is a 10-story tower that will give officials, fans, and media a birds-eye view

Abutting the field is a 10-story tower that will give officials, fans, and media a birds-eye view

The outside of the stadium is enclosed, which could affect wind speeds on the track itself

The outside of the stadium is enclosed, which could affect wind speeds on the track itself 

The tower is shaped like a torch and can be lit in different colors depending on the occasion

The tower is shaped like a torch and can be lit in different colors depending on the occasion

Knight, who was once a distance runner at the school under coach Bill Bowerman, has dedicated the project and much of Nike's success to his mentor (pictured)

Knight, who was once a distance runner at the school under coach Bill Bowerman, has dedicated the project and much of Nike’s success to his mentor (pictured)

However, opponents such as Bowerman biographer Kenny Moore have argued that the modern stadium would not be what the famed coach would have wanted.

‘When I cast my eyes over the planned transformation of Hayward Field, all I can see is a perversely ignorant ‘remembering’ of the man, the character and wishes of the man,’ Moore wrote to the Eugene (Oregon) City Council in 2018.

‘I disagree with aspects of the ‘new’ design but overall Phil and his team have built a beautiful, modern home not only for Oregon Track but the entire sport,’ former Nike designer Tinker Hatfield wrote the Journal in an email. ‘I certainly hope that the magic of the old Hayward Field finds it way back to the new venue.’

Knight did remove Bowerman’s name from the 10-story torch-shaped tower abutting the field at the behest of his three sons.

‘There was a strong group of track boosters who did not like the new design,’ Knight wrote in the email to the Journal. ‘Many of them have come around, and I would expect more to be on board when there is an actual track meet there. I am proud of the result.’

A field-level view of the track at the University of Oregon's Hayward Stadium

A field-level view of the track at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Stadium 

In the background, the mountains surrounding Eugene, Oregon can be seen

In the background, the mountains surrounding Eugene, Oregon can be seen 



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