Hayward Field, the revamped stadium in Eugene, Oregon that is due to host the postponed 2022 World Athletics Championships, will become the first non-European venue to stage the Diamond League final.
Work on transforming the University of Oregon (UO) facility into an elite track and field stadium was completed in June 2020, with Hayward Field currently hosting the US Olympic trials.
The Diamond League final concludes the 14-meet global athletics series and is traditionally held in either Zurich or Brussels. This year’s final is scheduled for Zurich’s Stadion Letzigrund on September 8-9. Following the 2023 event at Hayward Field, Diamond League CEO Petr Stastny said the series will adopt a policy of rotating the final between the series’ host cities.
“We are very pleased to have the final in Eugene, Tracktown USA in the year after the World Athletics Championships at the iconic and new Hayward Field arena,” Stastny told the Reuters news agency.
“It (the final) will rotate annually as we intend to give more member meetings of the Wanda Diamond League the opportunity to host the final.”
Hayward Field has undergone around $270m (£193.1m/€226.1m) worth of work funded entirely by private donations, led by UO alumnus Phil Knight, co-founder of US sportswear company Nike, and his wife Penny, as well as gifts from more than 50 donors.
In April 2020, World Athletics announced that its World Championships in Eugene would now take place from July 15-24, 2022, a year later than originally scheduled. The postponement was confirmed after the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo would be pushed back until 2021 due to COVID-19. Eugene’s Championships had originally been scheduled for August 6-15, 2021.
Work began on the redevelopment in June 2018, with UO intending that the new-look Hayward Field set a new standard for sports stadia, creating world-class training and competition facilities for student-athletes.
The stadium, which had seated 8,500 fans, has been expanded to hold 12,650 permanent seats. The north end of the stadium will be used as the location for the majority of the temporary seating needed to bring the capacity up to the minimum 30,000 required for the World Championships.
Hayward Field originally opened as an American football stadium in 1919, but has been used as a track and field venue since 1921.
Image: University of Oregon