The University of Oregon's basketball and volleyball teams are the top tenants at Matthew Knight Arena, a shiny, LEED-certified building (first in the NCAA) that looks more than a little like a spaceship and impresses inside and out. It was built almost entirely by private donations from Phil Knight- Oregon alum and Nike co-founder- and named for Knight's late son. MKA attempts to replicate some of the intimacy and uniqueness of McArthur Court, the bandbox of a basketball court that was built in 1927 and served as the U of O's main indoor arena for more than 80 years.
Matthew Knight Arena parking
MKA is on the University of Oregon campus and quite close to Hayward Field, which means it's in a neighborhood. Parking regulations vary widely, as available parking areas are different for a men's basketball game than they are for a concert. Street parking is also heavily regulated. When the sign says two hour parking, it means it. There is a small parking garage under the arena but it has extremely limited access. Restrictions are much more relaxed on weekends than they are on weeknights, that's for sure. Lane Transit District will usually run park and ride shuttles only during men's basketball games.
Hotels near Matthew Knight Arena
There are several hotels and motels along Franklin Boulevard near Matthew Knight Arena. The biggest hotel around is the Eugene Hilton in downtown Eugene but within a long walk of MKA. There are also several newer hotels in the Gateway area of Springfield.
Seating at Matthew Knight Arena
Even a bad seat at MKA is pretty good. Designers tried to replicate the steepness and intimacy of the old Oregon basketball arena, Mac Court, and did pretty well while adhering to modern accessibility standards. There are no columns blocking views and the center court jumbotron the biggest in an NCAA-only basketball arena. Seating can also be adjusted depending on the event.
Food at Matthew Knight Arena
It's much more than standard arena fare at MKA. Each location has a different selection of food and beverages. The menu variety includes things like BBQ sandwiches with a signature Oregon marionberry topping, wild salmon sandwiches with salmon aioli, and specialty Hawaiian plates. Smaller stands have homemade desserts, and there's also the standard fare of hot dogs, soda and popcorn.
Beer at Matthew Knight Arena
Because MKA is on the Oregon campus, alcohol sales are very limited. At college basketball games, for instance, the practice courts are turned into the beer and wine sales area. But alcohol can only be consumed in there and cannot be brought into the stadium bowl.
Parking alternatives at Matthew Knight Arena
Because parking is extremely limited, MKA encourages patrons to use other forms of transportation, but especially bicycles. Truth is, it's hard to get to. When Lane Transit District doesn't run special park and ride shuttles, like to concerts, there are regular bus stops not far away and that's really the best way to get there, especially if something's on a weekday night.
What to bring to Matthew Knight Arena
Most of the seats have backs and some sort of cushion so it's actually reasonably comfortable to sit. Unlike sitting outside at Hayward Field or Autzen Stadium, there's no need for rain gear- well, while you're inside, at least. As for what you can't bring, the key note is that the camera policy varies from event to event. At some concerts you can't even have your cell phone out on the floor, at others small point-and-shoots are allowed. The usual indoor stadium restrictions- no cans or bottles- also apply here.
Insider tip for Matthew Knight Arena
Anybody who went to a game or concert at Mac Court will tell you that Matt Knight Arena is not the same. Frankly, it's impossible to replicate that atmosphere. The most remarkable thing about the place is its looks. Instead of going straight to my seat, I always like to take a walk around. There seems to always a new big picture or mural honoring past Oregon players, coaches and teams. The place is also glass as much as possible, providing for great views of the neighborhood, and it's even cool when it's raining.
Author's bio: Alex Drude was at one of the last games at Mac Court and one of the first at Matt Knight Arena. He still misses how the old place shook, but MKA is pretty darned cool, especially when the crowd is rocking. Follow his sports and travel musings on Twitter @Alex_Drude and on Facebook.