The Autzen stadium is once again officially open for business.
Oregon announced Wednesday that the 54,000-seat venue will allow fans to operate at full capacity for the 2021 season, which begins Sept. 4 when the Ducks host Fresno State.
In an interview with The Register-Guard a month before the announcement, sporting director Rob Mullens said he was cautiously optimistic that fans would be returning to Autzen en masse.
The Ducks have only played two home games in the 2020 season in front of cardboard cutouts and empty seats due to statewide health and safety restrictions stemming from the COVID pandemic. 19.
“I’ve been riding the wave of hope for quite a while, and I’m still on the wave of hope,” said Mullens. “I hope the vaccination is actually the path to a full Autzen.”
Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday announced the end of statewide health and safety restrictions, allowing the Oregon Sports Department – facing a $ 55 million deficit for the fiscal year that s end on Wednesday – to welcome paying customers again through the turnstiles.
Oregon typically earns between $ 3.5 million and $ 4 million per home football game.
Face covers will not be required to attend matches at Autzen, but unvaccinated fans are encouraged to wear them. According to Oregon, no proof of vaccination will be required and sections will not be designated for a specific vaccination status.
“I would like to express our gratitude to Governor Brown and his staff as well as the Oregon Health Authority and Lane County Public Health for all their diligence and collaboration throughout this process, as we collectively work to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, ”Mullens said in a statement. “It’s an exciting time for Oregon Athletics, and we can’t wait to kick off the 2021 season at a crowded Autzen stadium.”
Fourth-year coach Mario Cristobal, who was awarded a new six-year, $ 27.3 million contract before the Ducks win their second consecutive Pac-12 championship in December, made one of the most talented rosters in the dawn of fall’s history.
Oregon, which plays a non-conference game on September 11 at Ohio State, will also host Stony Brook (September 18), Arizona (September 25), California (October 15), Colorado (October 30), Washington State (November 13) and Oregon State (November 27).
“We are just getting started and I am motivated to work tirelessly and build on the success so far,” Cristobal said after the board’s approval of his contract extension. “We are privileged to call Oregon home and we love the sense of family and community here in Oregon.
“We will continue to work tirelessly to take Oregon’s football program to the next level, and we look forward to seeing the best fans in the country return to Autzen Stadium next fall.”
The renewal rate for football season ticket holders was 91.4% before Wednesday’s announcement.
Tickets for all seven home games will go on sale at a later date. Mobile tickets will be required for all Oregon sporting events through the Go Ducks Gameday app.
The Ducks are expected to be the preseason favorites to win the Pac-12 when the media poll is released on July 27 during the conference media day in Los Angeles, which Cristobal will attend with two players.
Contact reporter Ryan Thorburn at [email protected] or 541-338-2330, and follow him on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.