LANE ONE: Exploring the unmatched 2022 schedule at Eugene’s Hayward Field; what’s the best value?

(For our Highlights of the weekend’s major competitions, click here)

For the U.S. track & field fan, there has never been a year like 2022, with the World Athletics Championships coming for the first time. And there has never been a venue schedule like Hayward Field, which, in addition to the University of Oregon’s home schedule, will host five elite-class meets within two months.

Those would be the Pacific-12 Conference Championships, the Nike Prefontaine Classic, the NCAA Championships, USA Track & Field Championships and the Worlds. Pretty amazing.

So what does it cost to attend any or all of these meets? Happy to be your guide!

The first order of business is to consider the layout of the new Hayward Field, opened in 2021. The new, bowl-style seating program includes 33 lower-level sections (numbered in the 100s) and 27 upper sections (numbered in the 200s) for a total of 60 sections and 12,650 seats. Extra seats are being added for the World Championships.

So let’s get to the meets; pricing does not include any seller’s fees:

(1) Pac-12 Conference: 13-15 May

One of the nation’s best collegiate meets, featuring – of course – the host Ducks and sure to include multiple athletes who will appear at the other meets to come this season. Prices:

13 May (Fri.): Reserved seats $20, General Admission $15
14 May (Sat.): Reserved seats $20, General Admission $15
15 May (Sun.): Reserved seats $20, General Admission $15
All Sessions: Reserved seats $60; General Admission $45

There are 19 reserved sections out of the 60 total; the only reserved seats are on the home straight and the first turn.

(2) Nike Prefontaine Classic: 27-28 May

The Diamond League mainstay in the U.S. is always a great show, now expanded to two days, but primarily on Saturday, with elite invitational fields of the top class. Pricing:

27 May (Fri.): Reserved seats $25-35; General Admission $15
28 May (Sat.): Reserved seats $75-95-140; General Admission $35

For the main day on Saturday, there are 46 sections of reserved, with general admission at the north end and south end.

(3) NCAA Championships: 8-11 June

This is always a sensational meet, with dozens of world-class performances, a great team battle for men and women and an early look at some of the Worlds medal winners to come in July:

08 June (Wed.): Reserved seats $34; General Admission $23
09 June (Thu.): Reserved seats $34; General Admission $23
10 June (Fri.): Reserved seats $34; General Admission $23
11 June (Sat.): Reserved seats $34; General Admission $23
All Sessions: Reserved seats $136; General Admission $92

Seating for all four sessions is the same, with 27 sections of reserved seats. The entire back straight and the far turn are general admission, with the upper sections of the ends of turns also general admission.

(4) USA Track & Field National Championships: 23-26 June

This is the selection meet – in most events – for the U.S. team for the World Championships and runs for four days less than a month prior to the Worlds. The competition will be exceptional, but expect the schedule to shift around to accommodate the various calamities that always seem to show up somewhere at the U.S. nationals, regardless of location:

All Sessions: Reserved seats: $170-250; General Admission $110

The only present offer is for all-session tickets. It’s a pretty generous seat map, with both turns and the backstraight all classified as General Admission and only the home straight sections 118-128 (11) and 218-229 (12) as Reserved, or being used for athletes or news media.

Individual-session seats will be offered later. This is a bargain, at least for the all-session offer.

(5) World Athletics Championships: 15-24 July

Never before held on U.S. soil, the Worlds will be held in mid-July and the hope is for good weather and excellent conditions. Given the small size of the stadium compared to where this meet has been held before, the tickets are not cheap. Pricing for remaining inventory as of 17 April (all seats are reserved):

15 July (Fri. a.m.): Reserved seats: $35-55-75-95
15 July (Fri. p.m.): Reserved seats: $70-95-130-150-175-200-250

16 July (Sat. a.m.): Reserved seats: $55-65-95-125-135
16 July (Sat. p.m.): Reserved seats: $85-115-145-165-195

17 July (Sun. a.m.): Reserved seats: $45-65-95-125-135
17 July (Sun. p.m.): Reserved seats: $85-115-145-165-195

18 July (Mon. a.m.): Reserved seats: $25-55-75-95
18 July (Mon. p.m.): Reserved seats: $70-95-130-150-175-200-250

19 July (Tue. p.m.): Reserved seats: $70-95-130-150-175 (others sold out)
20 July (Wed. p.m.): Reserved seats: $70-95-130-150-175-200-250
21 July (Thu. p.m.): Reserved seats: $85-115-145-165-195-255
22 July (Fri. p.m.): Reserved seats: essentially sold out

23 July (Sat. a.m.): Reserved seats: $35-55-75-95
23 July (Sat. p.m.): Reserved seats: essentially sold out

24 July (Sun. a.m.): Reserved seats: $25-35-55-75-95
24 July (Sun. p.m.): Reserved seats: essentially sold out

Of course, there is a hospitality option as well, offered by Daimani, with seating on the home straightaway (sections 123-124-125) for the Cadence Club “Leisure” section, with a hospitality area, catering and parking. The pricing is only for the evening sessions and runs from $450 per person for the opening evening session to $550-975-450-875-450-650, and 1,250 for each of the last three days.

The even more upscale Cadence Club “Finish Line” offer is for seating on or near the finish line in sections 121 or 122, plus a hospitality area (with reserved tables), food, beverages, parking and special guests. Champagne will be offered on arrival and the per-person cost per session runs $950-1,050-1,450-950-1,770-950-1,150-2,250-2,250-2,250.

The seating plan for the Worlds expands the normal bowl with the addition of five sections – nos. 100-102, 111 and 137 in the lower level – and seven second-level sections, numbered 232-234 and 238-241 on either side of the far turn video board. The architectural descriptions of the new Hayward Field state that the standard capacity of 12,650 can be expanded to “nearly 25,000,” but it does not appear from the ticket-sales drawings that the seating total has been almost doubled.

And then there are the issues of accommodations and transportation.

The Eugene-Springfield area has limited accommodations to begin with, but the Pac-12 and Prefontaine meets are usually manageable for spectators. The NCAA meet is a problem with the influx of teams and related personnel and the inns will be full for the USATF Nationals as well.

Accommodations for the World Championships are almost out of the question at this point, with availabilities in Portland or Corvallis or the Oregon coast. And give yourself perhaps two hours to get to Hayward Field itself for the evening sessions. The cost of tickets to the Worlds may, in fact, be dwarfed by the costs of staying to see the meet.

It’s a great schedule and the meets will be superb. But if all the arrangements are too much, all of them will be on television somewhere!

Rich Perelman

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