Businesses Eager for NCAA Championships

EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Oregon’s Historic Hayward Field will host the NCAA Track and Field Championships for the next eight years, the athletic department announced Wednesday.

Local businesses say they know the positive impact the track and field championships have on the economy. They say this is great news because events like this means more people coming to the area, which adds a big boost to the local economy. That impact along with the honor of being the host through 2021 has everyone talking.

“We’re just really thrilled and looking forward to hosting those athletes. We love track and field athletes,” said Kari Westlund, Travel Lane County President.

Local businesses like the Wild Duck Cafe in Eugene are ready to host the big crowds, and Travel Lane County says it can’t blame them for being excited because the economic impact is going to be great.

“The economics of the business itself is valued at $6.4 million a year. And so if you didn’t normalize those numbers for future spending, just keep them at present day dollars, it’s a $44-plus million contract, so it is significant economically,” Westlund said.

“It just adds more across the years, so counting on the championships coming in here every year, it’s a big deal. The relationships you get to build with folks coming in here year after year,” said Bob Jensen, Wild Duck Cafe Owner.

Jensen says the Wild Duck Cafe has been a hub for track and field especially because of its location.

“I like to say we’re 400 meters from the track and field here, so we’ve become one of the closest relationships, really, for both fans and athletes, coaches, whoever to come over,” Jensen said.

Both Jensen and Westlund say the business surge is going to be great, but the honor and prestige comes right next to it.

“It’s a pretty special feeling here in Tracktown. We are feeling pretty proud and honored to be able to host such fabulous meets here at Hayward Field,” Westlund said.

Westlund says hotels in the area also played a big part in helping land the agreement by being able to have space for everyone to stay. Travel Lane County estimates about 12,000 spectators per day at the four-day events. About 25 percent of those fans from out of town.

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