Showing posts with label Matt Kilkenny. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Kilkenny. Show all posts

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How does Oregon's new arena rate for volleyball?


EUGENE--Oregon’s new multimillion dollar arena opened earlier this year for basketball. This fall, it’s been the home to Ducks’ volleyball. How does Matthew Knight Arena stack up for volleyball?
Matthew Knight Arena, named for the late son of Nike founder Phil Knight
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]
The floor takes getting used to. The tops of silk-screened brown-and-orange fir trees push randomly into volleyball’s 30’x60’ internal boundaries. The Kelly green lines marking basketball keys and 3-point arcs clutter the volleyball playing area. And two odd sideline logos were clearly not designed with volleyball in mind:
Volleyball configuration for Oregon's new "Matt Court"
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]

  • The first logo reads “DEEP IN THE WOODS,” a reference to Oregon’s “Tall Firs”, winners of the first NCAA men’s basketball championship back in 1939.
  • The second reads “KILKENNY FLOOR,” honoring major donor (and, briefly, Oregon Athletic Director) Matt Kilkenny. Oddly, the Kilkenny logo is sprinkled with three sets of clip art: palm trees (to represent Kilkenny’s home town of San Diego), shamrocks (his ancestry) and an old-school University of Oregon logo (a nod to when Kilkenny attended—but did not graduate from—the UO in the 1970s.)

Kilkenny Floor logo at UO's Knight Arena
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]
While the WOODS logo is outside the volleyball boundary, the sideline awkwardly bisects the KILKENNY logo … a fairly clear sign that the graphic artists had basketball primarily in mind in their design.
The seating areas feel dark and theatrical. The gun-metal gray seats resemble live theater seating more than sports arena. The colorless effect is more foreboding than festive. By contrast, the state-of-the-art playing surface lighting pops as if bathed in a large spotlight.  The smartest seating decision was to incorporate a few rows of the old Mac Court green bench seats into the student section, but that use of color makes the rest of the arena look drab by comparison. Futuristic black screens block the uppermost sections in a similar fashion to what the Seattle Sounders do at Century Link.
Press row is buried in a high, remote corner of the arena, for no apparent reason. It was hard to see and hear the action from our perch, and communication with the sports information director and statistician was often done the old-fashioned way: jogging up and down dozens of steps. Very weird for a high-tech arena. 
The audio rocks. The Arena hosts concerts, and it shows. The public address announcer’s every syllable is clearly audible (if not, at times, incredibly grating: “That’s how the Pac-12 hits down!”) If the Ducks ever hire a pro to sit behind the microphone, it could be a real treat.

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