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Oregon 2022 was a bust

The NYT on the failure to expand the aging fan base:

… “The fans gave me almost chills.” The problem is, there have not been many of them compared to other championships. Hayward Field has a capacity of about 30,000. Once sponsors and delegations from every country were taken care of, it sold about 12,000 seats per session. It still sold 90 percent of available tickets, with some but not all night sessions selling out.

If you want to put on the best track meet in the United States, Eugene is an obvious choice. If you want to expand the reach of the sport in the United States, it is not the best choice. Only locals or fans willing to make a long pilgrimage could have attended. Both of those groups are composed of people track and field already has. …

“We knew there was a risk,” Coe said. “I do politely make the point there weren’t a lot of options available. There should have been, and we should have engaged earlier.” Coe wished more cities had engaged with USATF, but only Eugene pushed to host after World Athletics made clear it wanted to bring the event to the United States.

The Eugene Weekly on the shitty local economic impact:

… My Soul Hot Chicken’s business model is focused on locals, Wiley says, and doesn’t rely on tourists or students. But after hearing that Oregon22 would be good for restaurants, he says, he ordered a lot more chicken and bread than he normally would for a week. 

But business during Oregon22 has been so slow, he adds, that for this week he only ordered some cabbage. “I am 25 percent of what I projected to do,” he says. 

So far, Wiley estimates he’s lost thousands of dollars — a big number for a new business. “I was paying payroll and had barely enough to cover it,” he says. “It’s been shitty.” 

Losing so much money in a 10-day event that the state of Oregon poured $40 million into has been frustrating, he says. “You think they’d want to make sure local businesses would do well,” he says. “Everyone I’ve talked to has done poorly.”

When the actual data is out it will be interesting to revisit EcoNorthWest’s 2015 Economic Impact study, which was used as justification for the state subsidies.

Last day photo from


  1. Townie 07/24/2022

    Similar to the economic effect that Olympic Games have on host cities. Locals rent out their homes and leave for a week or two. Meanwhile visitors congregate around hotels, stadiums, etc. For a tourism centric city it might be a wash.

  2. just different 07/24/2022

    Ooookay, so where do *you* think the Worlds should have been held for it to not be a “bust”? It was a terrific meet with a great crowd. The NYT piece was mostly about the shitty marketing and the way the media still treats track & field like a niche sport.

    • uomatters Post author | 07/24/2022

      Athletes should run at home on treadmills that generate electricity, fans can watch on Zoom. To minimize the carbon impact, of course. Thoughts on how to handle the shot-put and pole-vault are welcome.

    • ODA 07/25/2022

      In Big10 country! LA, of course. Easy flights and millions of locals to suck up the seats. SC &FUCLA could fill the seats alone not to mention the socal influencers.

    • charlie 07/26/2022

      Further information: World Championship records, Men’s medalists, and Women’s medalists
      Edition Year City Country Date Venue Capacity Events Nations Athletes Top of the medal table,
      World Team since 2022
      – 1976 Malmö Sweden 18 Sep Malmö Stadion 30,000 1 20 42 Soviet Union
      – 1980 Sittard Netherlands 14 – 16 Aug De Baandert 22,000 2 22 42 East Germany
      1st 1983 Helsinki Finland 7 – 14 Aug Olympiastadion 50,000 41 153 1,333 East Germany
      2nd 1987 Rome Italy 28 Aug – 6 Sep Stadio Olimpico 60,000 43 156 1,419 East Germany
      3rd 1991 Tokyo Japan 23 Aug – 1 Sep National Stadium 48,000 43 162 1,491 United States
      4th 1993 Stuttgart Germany 13 – 22 Aug Neckarstadion 70,000 44 187 1,630 United States
      5th 1995 Gothenburg Sweden 5 – 13 Aug Ullevi 42,000 44 190 1,755 United States
      6th 1997 Athens Greece 1 – 10 Aug Olympiako Stadio 75,000 44 197 1,785 United States
      7th 1999 Seville Spain 20 – 29 Aug Estadio Olímpico 70,000 46 200 1,750 United States
      8th 2001 Edmonton Canada 3 – 12 Aug Commonwealth Stadium 60,000 46 189 1,602 Russia
      9th 2003 Paris France 23 – 31 Aug Stade de France 78,000 46 198 1,679 United States
      10th 2005 Helsinki Finland 6 – 14 Aug Olympiastadion 45,000 47 191 1,687 United States
      11th 2007 Osaka Japan 24 Aug – 2 Sep Nagai Stadium 45,000 47 197 1,800 United States
      12th 2009 Berlin Germany 15 – 23 Aug Olympiastadion 74,000 47 200 1,895 United States
      13th 2011 Daegu South Korea 27 Aug – 4 Sep Daegu Stadium 65,000 47 199 1,742 United States
      14th 2013 Moscow Russia 10 – 18 Aug Luzhniki Stadium 78,000 47 203 1,784 United States
      15th 2015 Beijing China 22 – 30 Aug Beijing National Stadium 80,000 47 205 1,761 Kenya
      16th 2017 London United Kingdom 4 – 13 Aug London Stadium 60,000 48 199 1,857 United States
      17th 2019 Doha Qatar 27 Sep – 6 Oct Khalifa International Stadium 48,000 49 206 1,775 United States
      18th 2022 Eugene United States 15 – 24 Jul Hayward Field 25,000 49 180 1,700+ United States
      19th 2023 Budapest Hungary 18 – 27 Aug National Athletics Centre 34,000
      20th 2025 Tokyo Japan National Stadium 68,000

      Where should the WCs have been held other than Eugene?? Take your pick.

      Our grade school teachers would have us compare and contrast in order to build critical thinking skills. Some of you should start practicing…

  3. Pissed Programmer 07/24/2022

    At least Hayward wasn’t one of these one-time-use facilities like stories you hear of those built for the Olympics (like in Brazil). I’m hopeful (and admittedly ignorant on the matter) that Hayward will garner more high profile global track meets in the future. Seems like all I hear about are NCAA, OSAA, Olympic Trials, Pre Classic… and maybe this gamble will pay off in the long run. Eugene sure was pretty during the event. Hopefully nobody gets the idea to move here.

    • Fishwrapper 07/25/2022

      Going forward, all you will hear about will be The Pre, NCAA, OSAA, and Olympic Trials. Which is pretty much the pre-Phildo status quo.

  4. Disgusted 07/25/2022

    Small town. UO got students to pay for dorms they didn’t want. Employees got to pay for parking they couldn’t use. Businesses outside of walking distance from The Phildo got little custom. Etc etc etc.
    Just another episode of UO and UO athletics trying to make themselves out to be fabulous.
    Again, the foolish new Hayward field ($) and foolish UO ($) embarrasses everyone and pisses away a shitload of $.
    So pathetic.

  5. Mike 07/25/2022

    Plus, the PLASTIC medals!

    • just different 07/25/2022

      Oh, stop. They’re inlaid with gold, silver, and bronze. It’s not like the medals came out of a Cracker Jack box. God forbid anyone tries something different.

      • uomatters Post author | 07/25/2022

        Yeah, even the olympic medals aren’t solid gold. Interestingly, the Nobel is (or at least was). I learned this when my Dad went to the ceremony where the TR Association gave Roosevelt’s peace prize to Reagan at the White House, because they didn’t want to keep paying the insurance on it.

    • eugenenative 07/28/2022

      “It’s not like the medals came out of a crackerjack box”.

      Your words, not mine. LOL.

  6. Silly stuff 07/25/2022

    This is kind of a silly analysis. What did they expect? They knew the capacity at Hayward. The track was fantastic, the athletes seemed to like it, records were broken, the event was sold to 90% capacity (at very expensive prices). If the goal was to promote around the US, the problem was squarely in promotion and marketing. I didn’t see much on the NYT and WaPo sports pages. If the goal was to get more people in the stands, they need a larger venue in a larger metropolis. But as noted, there’s no US competition for Eugene’s T&F facilities.
    I broke down and paid to attend one night, and it exceeded expectations- it was just great. One issue is that the new stadium only shields 50% from the sun. On a 90% sellout night the sunny side stands looked empty but there were crowds all standing in the shade.
    IMHO Eugene’s chamber of commerce (do we have one?) blew it for local businesses. It’s easy to envision that the majority of folks are going to stick near the stadium and routes.
    Also, for heaven’s sake, why weren’t there discounted tickets for UO students/employees? That was just plain dumb.

    • uomatters Post author | 07/25/2022

      Might be a conflict of interest to use state tax funds to give discounts to state employees? Just guessing.

    • Dog 07/25/2022

      Clearly you are not a member of the latest UO institute: ISABD

      -the Institute for Silly Analysis of Bad Data

      -projects here are endless …

  7. honest Uncle Bernie 07/25/2022

    I kind of liked having the athletes around — started to see some familiar faces even — kind of looked forward to my favorite race walkers parading on 13th! — despite the disruption of the town esp Agate St. I don’t like Sebastian Coe’s public attitude — “we won’t be coming back to Eugene, it is too small, the field is too small, blah blah blah …” This is an old Olympics story of getting cities and countries on the hook for something that loses a lot of money, and then going on to the next sucker. “I hope she’ll be better for you than I was!” as I once unforgettably heard one morning in a hookup resort hotel. Oregon (the state) reportedly spent $40 million on this thing. I do feel kind of bad for the merchants. Some people have been here long enough to remember the big national track meet where UO urged restaurants to prepare tons of food — and then UO had its own local vending at the track, and the town merchants lost lots of money on unsellable food — some of them literally went out of business. They were pretty bitter, I hope with this latest they are becoming inoculated. All in all, I suspect this event leaves a kind of bad taste with all except the fans and probably the athletes.

    • uomatters Post author | 07/25/2022

      pre-med, pre-law, what’s the diff?

  8. Old Hayward Fan 07/25/2022

    To clarify, the new facility’s stated capacity is more like 12,500, with about 3,000 additional seats in the build-out for this meet for an actual total of about 15,500. There were days of 20k+ fans at the old/real Hayward Field for past Trials. They (IAAF) WANTED 30,000 seats, and Slusher/Knight/Lananna/TTUSA initially told everyone they were building such a behemoth, but of course it wasn’t possible at this site.

  9. Blame NBC 07/25/2022

    The meet itself was great and the facility is top notch. If the desire is to raise the profile of Track and Field in the U.S., then it doesn’t matter much where it is held if NBC continues it’s terrible promotion and coverage of events like this (they have had the same problem with the Olympics though international time zones are at least partially to blame for that).

    For this one track meet, where all the running events are held at different times, and it’s easy enough to switch to field events when something important is happening, NBC used 3 different TV channels at different times and at least 2 online platforms. It was very difficult for an average fan to figure out what was on when and where. Put it on NBC and NBC Streaming simultaneously, show all the events, promote the hell out of it.

    Of course those are all economic decisions so NBC or whoever has the contract would have to agree with the vision of making it a priority and build in the losses.

    • Vinnie McFinch 07/25/2022

      Another angle came from the San Diego paper, which made the point that NBC prioritized swimming over T&F several Olympiads ago. More US medalists was the reason. Maybe the rise of more world class Americans will get the sport more exposure. I once caught the Canadian coverage of the Olympics while in Michigan. Very refreshing how they put less emphasis on the home team and more on brilliance, wherever it was. But this is where we are…

      • thedude 07/26/2022

        It’s a weird thing where the most televised parts of track on TV are generally the least interesting (the sprints) in person (over in 10 seconds) and the least watched on TV (the distance races, etc) are generally very exciting in person.

        How do you make track and field interesting to people? You do what Nick Symmonds is doing on youtube and you try to get everybody running (offering UO students $100 if they can beat his speed in a short race on campus). You focus on how Ryan Crouser studies physics and dance, and other physical movements to perfect his shotput instead of just assuming he is really strong and that’s it.

        It’s a really interesting psychology and physiology process to train to peak at specific moments like the worlds or the olympics, because you can’t stay at peak forever.

  10. Thedude 07/25/2022

    NYT has mostly been upset they would have to travel to crunchy Eugene for a historic world-class event.

    What did Eugene get? A new overdue river front park and a track stadium that gets used for multiple annual events? Plenty of locals made bank on Airbnb and so did hotels which figured out that you need to stay open past 9 to attract tourists.

    I went on Sat to the event and the river front festival. It was an amazing entertainment and celebration of human athletes from around the world. Maybe the professors here are still annoyed at jocks from high school but there’s nothing wrong with celebrating what humans are physically capable of.

    • Fishwrapper 07/25/2022

      AirBnB revenues won’t pay for unused food in restaurant coolers. Another example of how the sharing economy doesn’t shore up the regular economy.

      • thedude 07/26/2022

        Unless those Airbnb people come back to town with a lot more disposable income to spend at nearby restaurants.

        Regarding the restaurants, those who stayed open past 9pm to later hours which European and east coast travelers like did pretty dang well from what I heard. Those that closed at 9 or 10 as per usual found themselves without big crowds.

        Maybe they should have been more rational in their business practices instead of just buying a bunch of food and shutting down at the same normal sleepy college town time.

        • OMA 07/26/2022

          Oh, the Eugene restaurants that post 9PM Closing, but stop seating and lock the front doors at a quarter to 8 under the mistaken understanding that a restaurant posted closing time is the time you turn the lights off and go home like some Subway or McDonalds.

          Only exceeded by the ones that if you come in at a quarter to 9, the roll their eyes, tell you they will have to turn the grill back on and proceed to glare and sneer at you while you eat.

          This is why nobody goes out to eat after 8PM in Eugene we were trained like some Pavlovian dog.

          (For the people who have never worked in or owned a real restaurant: You seat until your closing time. If you want to be out around 9 you close at 8 or 7:30. If you want to close with the dishwasher getting out by midnight you close at 9 or 10. You never complain or say a word to the customer. If more customers come in after close but you still have patrons and the grill is still on and they agree to be as quick as sitting customers, you serve them happily– for a server it could be the biggest tip of the night).

          • just different 07/26/2022

            Exactly. It’s a little hard to feel bad for local restaurant owners who wanted Worlds business but wouldn’t change their hours to fit the Worlds schedule. And now they’re mad that the Riverfront Festival filled the need that they didn’t.

          • thedude 07/27/2022

            One of the reasons I don’t like eating out in Eugene. They make me feel guilty for asking them to prepare food in exchange for $$.

    • charlie 07/26/2022


      Project need: Atkins Dame asserted it cannot feasibly afford to construct the projects without an exemption, and an independent real estate economics firm agreed.

      In other words, public subsidization was the only way Riverfront was economically feasible, that according to the developer. As with public backstopping of student loans in order to bail out stupid university business practices, taxpayer resources must be used to create supposed financial efficacy for RE boondoggles.

      All this leads to another point. Eugene giving away $20.4 million for a dubious construction project connected to the WCs, along with $40 million from the state, tallies to over $60 million for a track meet. We get a lot of PR handwaving and smoke blowing regarding the WCs, but did they create the economic impact that were promised in order to justify all of that taxpayer underwriting?? All this in context of arguably the worst economic downturn in OR history.

      I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and reading HF hosts multiple events as reason why all this was needed is ridiculous. When the 49ers moved from Kezar to Candelstick Park, the stadium was configured for both baseball and football games. The venue then was utilized nearly 200 times a year. Oakland Coliseum hosted both the A’s and Raiders for decades. In fact, the Coliseum was the last multi purpose stadium for pro sports, and the tickets were damn cheap. My kid and I went to an A’s game three years ago, seats along the third base line were $25/each. That’s the reason counties/cities had multipurpose pro sports venues, in order to hold down costs so that working class folks could attend. That thinking is now almost all gone. Oakland told the Raiders to drop dead when the team demanded public money for a new stadium, and the team moved to Vegas.

      So, just how times is HF open for T&F events?? What were ticket prices for the WCs? Could the average working class schlub afford to attend? There have been multiple meets over the last two years, including the USATF in June. How were the crowds for that??

      • Anonymous 07/26/2022

        Charlie, you’re conflating a tax exemption the city granted to encourage permanent housing development on the riverfront with Oregon 22. We absolutely need more housing in Eugene and after ten years, these permanent developments will be paying ongoing taxes.

      • Vinnie McFinch 07/26/2022

        A couple of points. How is the riverfront project connected to the WCs? Also, if you think this is the worst economic downturn in OR history, you weren’t here in the 1980s.
        But yes, MUPTE is an outrage. According to the RG, 20+ million waived in taxes and less than 1 million in taxes paid. Here’s the thing that gets under my skin: most cities, including Portland, audit the books of these people to make sure they still need the tax credits. If at some point in the future, they do not, they claw them back, to use the term of art in urban tax policy. So, for example, if rent increases turn out to be higher than predicted, less tax breaks are given. What developers have gotten away with in Eugene is presenting outrageously low expectations for rents to capture the MUPTE, knowing that the City won’t claw back tax breaks if the rent increases actually are higher. If memory serves, Capstone’s projected increases were ~1% a year when they got a MUPTE. Anyone want to bet that the actual rent increases, on average, were much higher?

        • ODA 07/27/2022

          Does that mean Eugene COULD claw back those MUPTE breaks? I think a lot of this cardboard $hit around town got MUPTE.

          How about we hire (elect) someone who will go audit these places?

            • uomatters Post author | 07/28/2022

              I don’t understand the objections to this. Energy efficient, high-density urban housing, seems just like what Eugene claims to want. Is it just that people don’t like the fact that Brian Obie gets richer? If that’s it maybe put the energy into increasing the estate tax instead of trying to make it harder for him to build more housing for people?

              • ODA 07/28/2022

                I think I remember Jean Tate building a building with subsidies and tax breaks only to see her and and friends/partners move into the building to live tax free for a decade.



                It is not that housing is bad. It is where the taxes accumulate. I am no economist but when all new builds get a decade tax free, I would assume that means everyone else must pay more taxes to cover the missing revenue. The link above states that the Tate will Generate ~ $262K in revenue when it finally comes online Or to look at it another way someone else paid the $2.6 Million for the last 10 years. What does a developer do with 10 years tax free? If passed to the first buyer of a condo would that not artificially inflate the market rate raising price on similar units without the tax break???

        • just different 07/28/2022

          I’m not crazy about MUPTE either and it’s not a secret that developers are thieves, but isn’t it *still* true that the City comes out ahead with more downtown development? Plus there’s the indirect tax revenue from more retail and business activity?

          • moss defender 07/28/2022

            well the choice to forgo collecting mupte bucks leaves us with a legacy time capsule… clean up a massive toxic waste dump next to the EWEB “festival” site would have cost 12 mill – by simply QUIETLY capping the mess UO (at cost of 2 mil ) and the city govt and DEQ have found a more sustainable solution to keep the ( extra 10 mill ) mupte development incentive buck$ flowing…..Frohnmayers promised go cart factory and some underinformed hipsters renting in that area will never notice the simmering mess below the surface…besides we hear so much about the salmon safe eug parks

            • just different 07/29/2022

              What? EWEB dug up the contaminated soil and disposed of it properly, which had nothing to do with MUPTE. Please cite your sources if you have other information.

              • moss defender 07/30/2022

                i already dug up the reports on this toxic dump and provided them to our lovely city manager and councilor Semple…they decided to do NEARLY nothing about it….what you saw was our friends at EWEB doing the as little as possible mitigation plan…the 2 million dollar asphalt cap….for people willing to
                dig into the story a bit and read lengthy reports there are
                a number of up to date DEQ reports describing what cleaning up the site would actually be – 12 million estimated
                to clean up the mess and end it slowly seeping into the river…i spent many hours on this already so spoon feeding people who our genius ODE and RG and KEZI chose not to explain details too- it is not really what I am hoping to do….I bothered EWEB for years in person at EWEB meetings to not do the DUCK AND COVER cheapout in this situation….the land above the cap is not allowed to have any park or housing on top of it because of whats left in there…those types of uses must be at other parts of the land…planners for eugene originally decided to get around this by forming a go nowhere traffic roundabout on top of the cap….that would mean vehicles or trucks crossing the tracks near the eweb substation would cross tracks heading towards river and then turn in a circle and cross back over the tracks once they had gone nowhere……anyway its a damn disaster and I am not really wanting to sort through the reports about it again….how did the waste stay buried ? Nobody told UO or city govt or EWEB or DEQ to clean it up. I did follow it and did my homework on it for a long time and was ignored….you have been underinformed misinformed by the local nothin happenin here media zombies – want the info ? ask our beloved eco champion Emily Semple or the darling Eugene city manager for the reports I had printed out and explained to them….money for the celebrate UO sportcrap park needed to go to the cleanup…not festivals and muptes and endless vinyl banners….EWEB even donated money for the sports park project for you dont worry about paying them back they are just adding it onto your bill

                • just different 07/31/2022

                  If this is true, it’s something the Weekly would definitely have been all over. Maybe I missed something, but doesn’t look like they were. Why not?

              • moss defender 07/31/2022

                yes the EW should but they dont

      • thedude 07/27/2022

        Tickets for the USATF, NCAA’s, and USA outdoor nationals for teens were all affordable with tickets $40 and under.

        The issue for those events was more generating interest in the working class than their affordability.

        • New Year Cat 07/27/2022

          I work full time at UO and do not consider a ticket to anything in the $20-$40 range “affordable” on my salary. I think long and hard before buying one or two tickets a year (to an arts event, usually).

  11. Dogmatic Ratios 07/26/2022

    Certainly the public should not support the Olympics or the World Games or any other major sports event. These spectacles are destructive locally and globally — they tear through neighborhoods and warp urban economies, promote nationalism and geopolitics, and encourage young people to abuse themselves for a chance at a better life. Big-time sports are embarrassingly regressive, and a sign of a desensitized, distracted public.

    • New Year Cat 07/27/2022

      They also encourage a lot of carbon intensive travel.

  12. Without Limits 07/27/2022

    As with previous big-time events, the real disappointment was that fans and families were not encouraged / incentivized enough to explore the city. Local were misled as with the Olympic trials that folks would visit the Saturday Market, restaurants, etc. Also ticket prices were just too high for most locals and UO employees to afford. I was teaching on campus and expected it to be a zoo but you could hardly notice the event unless you went to that side of campus. The event itself seems to have gone well though, despite Devon Allen’s unfair DQ and commentator Michael Johnson’s observation that times may have been inflated. More buy in from ESPN and other sports outlets could bring more attention to such events in the future. Coverage was nearly non-existent by some sports media outlets and sports radio, who seem to care more about NBA and NFL off season mularky.

  13. moss defender 07/27/2022

    oh well it was a nothinburger…make way for nike shadow campus part 2 and a eco project on riverfront which seems like something WW2 related (its ugly AF) also what did uo just build by RR tracks and millrace ? it looks like a huge grey milk jug

  14. honest Uncle Bernie 07/28/2022

    wtf! Agate St. still mostly closed 4 days after the event was supposedly over! Did UO take over the street from the city? I hope the city got a good price.

  15. Sherwin Simmons 07/29/2022

    Want Oregon 22 office, medical, and non-perishable food supplies, buy them at the Oregon 22 going-out-of-business sale at McArthur Court on July 29 and 30. Strangely cheesy!

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