Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What to do today? Let's spend $2 million!

The University of Oregon athletic department just put up a purty new scoreboard in Autzen Stadium.

It's big -- bigger than the OSU scoreboard that went in last year, which was (at the time) the biggest in the conference. Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard says the UO version is about five times the size of Oregon's previous scoreboard, which was installed in 1998 at a cost of $4 million.

It's shiny.

It's cool.

And, according to the Oregonian's Ryan White, most people went unaware of the new toy until Moseley got a tip and snapped the photo above. White called the athletic department to get the skinny on Phil Knight's latest pocket change distribution, and found out how much advance planning went into the idea of replacing the old one:

It's a bit of a sport these days to have fun with Oregon's extravagances, like when they put a waterfall in the training room. Unnecessary? Yes, but good fun in a look-at-me-I'm-so-rich-I-can-afford-a-waterfall kind of way.

If you could count on the Ducks for anything, it was that they would spend money, and do it proudly.

The Ducks advertised the training facility on YouTube with an MTV-style video.

They once had weekly television time to replay games -- in New York, where they'd plastered promotional billboard after promotional billboard.

But they didn't even have a news release ready for a new, biggest-in-the-conference video screen.

Jim Bartko, UO's senior associate athletic director in charge of cool new stuff, called back and then had to get the specs on the board and call back again.

"It was kind of a last-second decision," Bartko said.

A last-second decision. Can't you imagine the discussion in the confines of Oregon's athletic department?

Gee, Jim, we got a bunch of dough from that marketing deal we just signed. What should we do with it?

Silence. Stares.

Wait! I know! Let's spend two million bucks on a new scoreboard! We've gotta get one that's bigger than Moo U. just put in!

And it was so.



  • At 7/23/2008 3:01 PM, Anonymous Gullyborg said…

    As long as the university is spending Phil Knight's money, and not my tax dollars or students' tuition dollars, then more power to them.

    And besides, doesn't this sort of project mean local jobs and money in the local economy? I'm generally in favor of that.

  • At 7/23/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Gully, I actually wasn't critical of it. I just thought it rather humorous that they call spending $2 million a "last-minute decision."


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