Attendance at the World Championships in Athletics in Eugene topped 54,000 in the first three days of the event, a sign of hope for organizers after disappointing turnout at other recent track events in Oregon and somewhere else.
“We are certainly happy with our percentage of stadiums filled compared to previous World Championships,” said Jessica Gabriel, director of communications for the competition.
Ticket attendance totaled 13,646 for the first day of the championships on Friday, 19,543 on the second and 21,065 on Day 3, according to organizers at Oregon 22. Each day had two sessions; the daily figures are the combined attendance of the two sessions.
This month’s track championships represent something of a coming-out party for overhauled Hayward Field, which has benefited from a $270 million makeover largely funded by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. , a former track athlete.
While the University of Oregon has a storied tradition in athletics, placing the competition in Eugene (pop. 175,000) instead of a major US city has raised questions about how many people would make the trek this month- this.
Disappointing attendance at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field last month – attendance totaled just 13,306 over four days – heightened those concerns.
But organizers of the World Athletics Championships said in January they had already sold 100,000 tickets, and demand appears to remain solid, even spectacular. City officials expect about 50,000 visitors to Eugene during the 10-day competition.
The event’s online ticketing portal says there are plenty of seats available for most upcoming events, although some of the best views appear to have sold out. Online resellers like StubHub sell tickets in the secondary market at prices comparable to their list prices; a few big-name events command a premium.
The renovated Hayward Field has an official capacity of 12,650. The stands looked generally busy last weekend, a stark visual contrast to the last championships held in Doha, Qatar, in 2019.
Seats were generally empty at this event, according to accounts at the time, despite tickets being distributed to migrant workers from other countries. Organizers of the 2017 Championships in London claimed over 705,000 tickets were sold.
In Eugene this week, ticket prices range from around $25 for high seats at some daytime sessions to several hundred dollars for good seats at evening events. Some child seats are on sale on the championships website for as little as $10.
“Ticket prices have been set through conversations with all of our stakeholders and World Athletics, and during our business planning,” Gabriel wrote in an email. “Tickets were offered at a wide variety of prices depending on the session’s competition schedule and stadium location.”
For opening night Friday, Gabriel said the championships sent a letter to households in Eugene and Springfield offering special discounts as a “thank you” to the community. She did not immediately respond to questions about the amount of the discount or the number of nearby residents who bought those tickets.