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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Oregon State Finishes $162M Stadium Upgrades Amid Pac-12’s Destruction 

  • OSU football's Reser Stadium just completed major renovations as the school’s conference shrinks to four teams.
  • “This is really the worst possible news at the worst possible time,” said sports economist Michael Leeds.
As the Pac-12 is in turmoil, Oregon State football is finalizing a $162 stadium renovation project.
Courtesy of Oregon State Athletics

Oregon State’s $162 million renovation of its football stadium is nearing completion at the “worst possible time” as one of the four remaining schools in the dwindling Pac-12 amid departure decisions from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. 

“This is just a body blow. This is really the worst possible news at the worst possible time,” sports economist Michael Leeds of Temple University told Oregon TV station KGW. “This is an expense that has to be covered. You can’t, at this point, not pay for a stadium that you’ve built or refurbished.”

Reser Stadium opened 70 years ago in 1953 at Oregon State University. The football stadium’s remodeling for the 2023 season features its revamped west side that went from having 127 bathrooms to 160 42 to 84 concessions options, including a noodle bar, a sports bar, a grab-and-go, and a taqueria.

The stadium’s remodeling was majority funded through donor contributions totaling $100 million and $45 million in bonds that must be repaid over 35 years through revenue from football and other stadium ventures. Its annual debt service interest is projected to be $2.6 million a year, according to OSU athletics.

“The only good news for Oregon State is that the debt service is modest enough that it probably isn’t going to be debilitating to the program,” Robert Boland, who teaches sports law at Seton Hall, told KGW. “It’s a little like having an expensive coach on a buy-out for the next 30 years,” said Boland. You’re going to have some money going out of your program that isn’t generating new money.”

Last year, Oregon State sold 13,925 football season tickets. Since the school began keeping records on season tickets in 2010, the high was 22,450 season tickets sold in 2013, according to Oregon Live.

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