Here in Oregon, die-hard sports fans know how to get behind their teams. Considering that Oregon is somewhat hidden in the Northwest, out of the national limelight, you may not see it from the outside but once you’re here, attending a sporting event is a thrilling experience — win or lose. From outdoor venues to stadiums and sports bars of every stripe, there’s always a game going on and never a dull moment. Here’s how to catch the sporting action all year round, across the state.
Since the Portland Trail Blazers first stepped onto the court 50 seasons ago, the team has been the heartbeat of Portland, aka Rip City. The city and much of the state ebbs and flows with the success of the Blazers. The team’s 50th anniversary in 2019-20 has brought high expectations coming off their trip to the Western Conference Finals, acquiring a future Hall of Famer in Carmelo Anthony, and there’s no better time to jump on the Blazers bandwagon than this season. Even with ups and downs, with Damian Lillard at the helm, they’re never down for long. To catch the Blazers in person, head straight to the team’s website for single-game tickets. In 2020 they’re also doing decade-themed nights, where you can pull out that old outfit from the 1970s and no one will look at you sideways. Find that calendar here.
It’s not just pro sports that Oregonians are passionate about. With two top 10 women’s programs less than an hour apart on Interstate-5, and men’s teams that consistently contend in March Madness, the University of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State University Beavers basketball games are major sporting events. The Ducks’ Sabrina Ionescu is arguably the most exciting, engaging female basketball player in the country; her jersey recently sold out in just hours, she holds the collegiate basketball record for both men and women in triple-doubles, and she’s changing the game for women. In Portland, Ducks fans love to frequent the River Pig Saloon on game day, while The Fields is Beaver territory.
Soccer City, USA
Soccer City is one of the Rose City’s nicknames, and it’s carved into Providence Park’s 4,000-seat expansion. Oregon’s largest city loves its Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns — many of which were on the World Cup U.S. team. With fan clubs like the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters, these loyal and often fervent fan bases are used to seeing their teams succeed. During the summer months, it’s the best place to take your family on a Sunday afternoon, especially with several Olympians and World Cup Champions gracing the Thorns’ roster. Parking spaces close to the stadium are limited, so your best bet is to take public transit, walk or use a ride-share service. You can find the Timbers schedule and tickets here, and the Thorns here. If you’re looking to catch a game on television, try The Toffee Club in Southeast Portland. With its British pub food and dedication to fútbol, it’s as close as you can feel to the action without actually being in the stands.
“In Oregon you’re either a Duck or a Beaver.” That’s how former Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers described the state’s fandom, and it couldn’t be more true. While the University of Oregon has had more success in recent years than Oregon State, both programs are trending in the right direction under head coaches who are cultivating winning teams in Eugene and Corvallis, respectively. If you’re heading down I-5 from Portland on game day for either of these games, be prepared for traffic in both directions. GoDucks.com has bundles for several games as well as single-game tickets for the 2020 season, with prices ranging from $30 to $200 and up. Beaver Athletics has similar options for fans wanting to see a game in Reser Stadium, with season tickets for around $100. If you want to watch the game in Corvallis, Sky High Brewing is just the place. With a rooftop open during warmer months, great beer and plenty of TVs, this spot right in the heart of Beaver territory will have you surrounded by black-and-orange faithful. If you’re in Eugene, give Wild Duck Cafe a try. Located right across from Matthew Knight Arena, this place is always packed with Ducks fans and is known to be a go-to spot for the Ducks’ basketball teams to catch a post-game meal.
For the Love of Hockey
Oregon’s winter months just beg to take in a great hockey game, and the Portland Winterhawks are exactly the ticket. With players as young as 16 years old from all over the world, the Winterhawks transport you to a purity in sport that gets lost in some of the higher-level teams. Most of these players stay with host families in the area after leaving their own families to pursue hockey — and love hearing fans cheer from rinkside. Tickets go for right around $25, and there’s plenty of parking garages around Veterans Memorial Coliseum. If the Blazers are away, driving to the game yourself isn’t a bad option.
Still More Sports
The Northwest also offers so many ways to enjoy adaptive sports, from rock climbing to cycling and golf. Check out Oregon Adaptive Sports for more.
Can’t forget about the Rose City Rollers! Home of the World Champion Wheels of Justice team, roller derby is as Portland as it gets. With most games being played at Oaks Amusement Park in Southeast Portland, there are opportunities to see world-class talent in action or lace up some skates and get out there yourself.
Sports fans are also excited for Eugene — known as TrackTown USA — to be on the national stage with the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field June 19-28, 2020. And Eugene will be on the world stage the following year as the first U.S. host of the World Athletics Championships, slated for August 2021.