How Can Autzen Be Improved?

Ryan Robertson Editorials

Autzen Stadium. You just imagined the greatest place on the planet. Home of the Oregon Ducks, perhaps the most incredible football program in all the land. They deserve a fantastic stadium, and Autzen delivers time and time again.

The atmosphere is off the charts, the song choices throughout the game are very good, the the jumbotron is great, the announcing is top tier, and the product on the field is something special.

The problem is, there are areas that the stadium comes up short. Few though the issues may be, they could be addressed with some effort.


The stadium restrooms are, to put it short, sub-par.

Sure, they function just fine, but they are the same toilets that my middle school gym had circa 2008. Is that a huge problem? No. Does it seem silly to have toilets and sinks that harken back to the 1980’s? A little.

This point is a total nitpick, and would not be worth the money necessary to solve though. The stadium toilets are just a little old. Visiting Autzen, with all of its modern features, in the shadow of arguably the best athletic facilities on the planet, seeing things so out of place is a bit of a bummer.

Alright, now the dumb one that only I care about is out of the way, lets get to the actual list.


Shout it out_Kevin Cline.jpg

Getting the fans riled up pre-game should be more of a focus. (Photo by Kevin Cline)

Autzen Stadium peaks in the gap between the third and fourth quarter. It is undeniably one of the most electric scenes in all of sports, with 60ish thousand wild Duck fans throwing their hands in the air to Shout. Absolutely incredible.

Did you know that other stadiums hit a similar level of energy before the game ever begins?

Virginia Tech starts every game with (in my opinion) the second greatest musical scene in sports: Enter Sandman. The stadium goes absolutely insane prior to the start of the game, and it sets the tone for what should be a fantastic game, especially in the evening.

I am not here to tell you that the Duck should ever do anything besides ride the motorcycle out onto the field, that would be absurd. I am here to tell you that in the moments leading up to that, there should be crowd noise to match how cool the motorcycle tradition is. Something incredible so that the opposing team knows what they have gotten themselves in to.

The pre-game is good, but it could be better, so what is actually bad?

The Internet

The internet in Autzen is the worst of any sports stadium I have ever been in. The stadium does not get a cell signal capable of sending a text in most areas, and the Wi-Fi has historically been amongst the worst in the nation.

Sure, you don’t want fans disengaged from the game by being on their phones, but the fanbase should be able to reasonably send a message to a loved one without concern that it will sit in their outgoing box until they’ve crossed the bridge.

The fix here is simple: better Wi-Fi / cell service in the stadium

The Exits

There are simply not enough exits for all of these wonderful fans. (Photo by Kevin Cline)

This is the point where no one could possibly disagree with this article.

I have been to somewhere around 20 games at Autzen Stadium and have had a smooth exit exactly one time.

The year: 2012. The opponent: Colorado. The score: 70-14. The winner: the good guys.

To be clear, this stadium exit was only easy due to how close I was to the main exit when in my seat, and the fact that about 60% of the fans were gone by the final whistle. Other than that, leaving the stadium takes an eternity. You have to fight just to get out of the bowl onto the walkway, then you are crushed in the masses of humanity trying to leave through very limited exits all on one level for an eternity.

Then you have to fight to get to the bridge, still packed so tightly that you can barely breathe.

Sure coming to Autzen is great, but leaving it is… not so good.

I see two potential fixes: 1. billions of dollars renovating the stadium to either add exits, or a second walkway in the lower part of the stadium. 2. build a new stadium.

Neither thing is feasible, or even that desirable. Option one leaves us with no stadium until the renovations are finished, and option two gets rid of the premier stadium on the West Coast.

So we go to option three: suck it up, Ryan.

The Parking

Not every fan has the chance to tailgate! (Photo by Kevin Cline)

Part of having the best atmosphere in college football includes coming to the stadium. The walk through the park, with Autzen slowly emerging from the trees like some colossal temple hidden in the depths of a far-away jungle is my absolute favorite part of going to Eugene.

Problem is, there isn’t unlimited parking South of the stadium, and some people are forced to park in the neighborhoods to the East.

Leaving this area is a total disaster, because the subdivision was not built to support 10,000 fans getting in and out of the area in their cars. This leads to an ungodly level of traffic. My last game at Autzen (Washington, 2022) it took a combined 2.5 hours to exit the stadium, walk to our car, and exit the neighborhood. It was extremely late at night by the time we arrived at our hotel (the hotel situation in Eugene could also be improved).

The fix here is simple, but very complex: build more parking. It is simple because, well, building more parking is a simple ask. It is complex because where on Earth would you put it? You cannot bulldoze the park to build it, because that is part of what makes the stadium the stadium, you can’t just tear down neighborhoods to build more parking.

I am glad not to be a civil engineer in Eugene, because I honestly don’t know.


Autzen Stadium is incredible. None of what I mentioned here compares to the parking situation around USC, or the commute in the cold in Colorado or Utah. These are small complaints that if they are never solved, won’t lessen my experience as a fan.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want them fixed though!

Ryan Robertson
Huachuca City, Arizona
Top Photo by: Kevin Cline

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

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