Students give perspective on Reser Stadium renovations

Reser Stadium
Reser Stadium
Sam Nicklous

One-hundred and sixty-two million dollars later…

Reser Stadium, the home of the Oregon State Beavers football team, has gone through a massive overhaul in the last couple of years that has left students curious about what impact the renovations have had on their gameday experience if any impact at all.

The addition of Beaver Street and the Terrance to the west and north sides of the stadium respectively have made Reser Stadium “a nation best-in-class facility with some of the best sightlines in the sport,” according to Oregon State Athletics. 

Senior Robert Henderson agreed with the athletic department’s sentiments. 

“The atmosphere was electric, if you were wearing Beaver gear you almost didn’t feel like yourself, you felt like a Beaver. Beaver Street was packed out the entire time, full of orange and black,” Henderson said.

However, many students have been left scratching their heads as to what impact the renovations have had on their Reser Stadium experience.

“I didn’t go over to the new side at all. Though, I thought it was lame for them to update the stadium to have less capacity for students, there is more room for donors though,” said Katie Wolf, an OSU senior.

The “Beaver Street” restaurants and standing room sections offer a change in pace for all guests. Students who dared to swim through the sea of people enjoying the west side of the stadium on gameday found it amicable, to say the least. 

Malachi Criz, a second-year at OSU, had the opportunity to attend games both in the student section and in the new standing room section which opened last season.

“The standing room section (on the west side of the stadium) was really where I got to see the renovation side (of the stadium). You got a higher view of the field, it was a cool switch from the student section,” Malachi Criz said.

OSU annual revenue and expense reports from 2022 conclude that the university is currently running a deficit of $6.84 million, which includes debts from newest renovations for the stadium. While these reports do not include any specific budgetary information concerning the stadium, the university has stated that they plan on using athletics revenue to pay off existing debts.

With the dissolvement of the PAC-12 conference and a $58 million dollar budget deficit for OSU athletics according to the NCAA Financial Report, the university must continue to bring ingenuity and poise in an uncertain time without the disillusionment of the student body.

As it stands today, there is no long-term revenue source from conference media rights deals, and this is likely to remain for the foreseeable future as the Beavers will be playing an independent schedule in the 2024 season. 

“I hope students keep supporting the team and going to games even if we aren’t in a conference or playing top tier teams all the time. The stadium is really nice, but it would be awful for us not to be able to pay it back because interest in football goes down” said Ben Roark, a senior at OSU. 

OSU athletics is set to receive over $400 million in remnant payouts from the dissolved PAC-12 conference. These funds will be split between OSU and Washington State University, and will provide both schools as a necessary cushion as they look toward the future. 

Reser Stadium is expected to bring in an annual revenue of $5 million, which is about twice their annual debt service for the renovation at $2.6 million yearly. This means that there is a glimmer of hope for long-term financial stability for the OSU football program that first began in 1893. 

“If the students ever had to pay more to go to games I would be bummed out, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only student who felt that way. Although If it is for the betterment of the university, I think things would cool off and students would still love going to games,” said Kiger Rhoades, a senior at OSU.

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