U Of Oregon To Open Matthew Knight Arena Tonight

January 13, 2011 /
Statesman Journal (Salem, Ore.)

EUGENE — It’s been quite a two weeks for the University of Oregon.


Ducks fans have said goodbye to the venerable and historic McArthur Court, cheered on the football team in its first Bowl Championship Series national title game and today will usher in a new era with the opening of Matthew Knight Arena.

Ducks teams have spent the past 84 years at McArthur Court, making it the second-oldest on-campus arena in Division I. Now the men’s and women’s basketball teams will transition across campus to the new, $200 million facility that seats 12,500, starting at 8 tonight when the men’s team faces USC.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. to allow fans to get acquainted with the new arena.

Matthew Knight Arena is promising upgrades on Mac Court in almost every facet, not to mention an opulent, modern feel.

Starting with the practical, “Matt Court,” as it’s already being called, has 18 restrooms — nine for each gender — as opposed to four at Mac Court.

Concourse width is more than doubled at 23 feet. And there are more TVs throughout the concourses. Seats are bigger, more comfortable and have cup holders.

There are no obstructed view seats, as opposed to the 1,950 among the 9,087 seats at Mac Court, which some people claimed added to its character.

Another character aspect of Mac Court is the steepness of the bowl. Its three levels seemingly went straight up from the floor, creating an effect of the crowd being right on top of the court and created a reputation for crowd noise.

Matthew Knight Arena’s stands have a more gradual rise, but designers still are promising the noise.

There are more concession stands, 1,500 parking spaces and there are practice courts that allow teams to work out simultaneously.

And then there’s the opulence.

There are two club rooms. The main scoreboard features high definition replay boards. The main entrance is spacious, which promises to eliminate long lines.

The signature feature of the new arena might be its floor.

It features symbolic references to the Northwest, as well as two of the individuals most responsible for the arena becoming a reality, Nike co-founder Phil Knight and former athletic director Pat Kilkenny.

The court is framed by a representation of a view from beneath a forest of fir trees. Also present on the floor is the new arena logo, designed for the namesake of the building, Matthew Knight, Knight’s son who died in a 2004 scuba diving accident in El Salvador.


“We wanted to design the most iconic television presence possible for the University of Oregon by conjuring up a highly unique and visible basketball floor design,” said Tinker Hatfield, the vice president for design and special projects for Nike.

“It’s inspired by our beautiful tree-covered region and the UO 1939 NCAA championship basketball team nicknamed the Tall Firs.”

The floor is named for Kilkenny, a long-time supporter of the university who served as the school’s director of athletics from 2007-09, and whose contributions aided in the arena’s construction.

The “Kilkenny Floor” text listed above the Matt Arena logo, is accompanied by three additional graphics.

“We wanted to pay respect to Pat Kilkenny, and the Kilkenny family, by telling their story in a classy and subdued series of three symbolic graphics,” Hatfield said.

One graphic depicts Morrow County and the town of Heppner, where Kilkenny grew up. Another graphic, which symbolizes his education at UO, is the 1970s interlocking UO logo adorned with three shamrocks representative of his Irish heritage. The final graphic symbolizes the beach and sunset of San Diego, where he became an entrepreneur and resides today.

The phrase “Deep in the Woods” is below the Matt Arena logo.

In the game, Oregon (7-9 overall, 0-4 Pac-10) will try to get on track in Pac-10 Conference play after dropping its first four contests against the Arizona and Washington schools.

USC (10-6, 2-1) is coming off a 63-52 victory against UCLA and is led by junior forward Nikola Vucevic, who leads the team in points (16.1 per game) and rebounds (9.6).

The Ducks have shot less than 40 percent from the field in their past six games. Senior forward Joevan Catron leads the team in scoring (15.9 points per game) and rebounding (5.9).

Read more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20110113/SPORTS/101130345/Welcome-Matt-Oregon-s-new-arena-ready-for-business#ixzz1Avu3YmtF

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