The Oregon Ducks basketball team is off to its best start in years.
But even with the top ranking in the Pac-12 and seven straight wins to start the conference season, the Ducks' sterling new $200 million arena isnât drawing the crowds quite like it expected.
According to an article in the universityâs Oregon Daily Emerald, Matthew Knight Arena is well below the expected revenue projections made by the athletic department in late 2010.
So far, there have been only three sellouts this season in the 12,364-seat stadium. For the first four games of the season, under 1,000 tickets were sold and over 5,000 student tickets were available at game time.
The arenaâthe most expensive college basketball stadium in the nationâwas expected to earn around $10.9 million in operating revenue since opening three years ago. However, a redrawn funding budget from earlier in the year tempers that projection to $7.7 million.
Funding comes from the Oregon Athletics Legacy Fund, a majority of it bankrolled by Nike co-founder and current Chairman Phil Knight.
The redrawing of the Legacy Fund also takes a chastened view of ticket projections. The $3.7 million initially expected from ticket sales has dropped by almost $1 million.
So far, the Legacy Fund has picked up the check for the debt owed on the arenaâs construction, along with its operating costsâabout $17.6 million. In the future, the athletic department plans to pay down its debt using general revenue from all athletics, but the state-of-the-art sportsplex on the east end of campus hasnât shown the kind of numbers that would make it the revenue stream the school hopes it will be.