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New Oregon arena fails to meet revenue projections

Oregon DucksUniversity of Oregon officials are adjusting budgets after the new Matthew Knight Arena has failed to meet revenue expectations across the board.


While it’s normal to readjust budgets after a facility opens, the fact that revenues failed to reach expectations across the board is a vindication for arena foes, who claimed projections were rosy, according to a report originally published in the Eugene Register-Guard. There’s not a category where revenue projections were met: men’s basketball revenues were off by 15 percent, women’s basketball revenues were off by 25 percent, and concert revenues were off by 30 percent. From the Register-Guard:

“We all knew they were optimistic,” said economics professor Bill Harbaugh, a member of the school’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. “They just wouldn’t admit it. From what I’ve seen of the athletic department, their budgeting is just smoke and mirrors, so I don’t put much faith in it.”

That may be a tad harsh: we’re talking about a part of the budget where the revenue shortfall represents a whopping 1 percent of the total athletic-department budget. Anyone who has worked with large budgets knows making adjustments to cover a 1 percent shortfall isn’t that difficult. And in this case, it’s even less difficult than in normal circumstances: the school has a $130-million Legacy Fund to cover shortfalls in arena revenues.


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