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Final Pac-12 Ducks-Beavers battle will fire up swag sales, as well as team spirit

T-shirt about football rivals.
Brian Bull
A shirt in a Duck Store commemorates the nearly 130-year-old rivalry between OSU and UO.

A historic rivalry potentially comes to an end Friday when the Oregon Ducks host the OSU Beavers. 

The matchup has been its own industry. 

Since 1894, the Ducks and Beavers have gone head-to-head, making it one of the oldest college football rivalries in the nation. It’s not been unusual to see I-5 between Eugene and Corvallis glutted with vehicles on Game Day, sporting green and gold or black and orange. 

But with the UO leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten after this season, those games will be history for a different reason. 

“It’s certainly sad to see,” said Tyler Norman, owner of McKenzie Sew On. The Eugene vendor makes sports apparel for the two universities. Norman didn’t share what his annual revenue is for rivalry matches, but told KLCC that he expects swag sales to be at least double what it normally is this month.

“We expect to see some really good sales through our partners, the U of O bookstore, and the Oregon State Beavers bookstore,” he said.

Last year, the UO and OSU saw licensing revenue generate $3 million and $1.6 million, respectively. Both reported upticks in sales this year. 

Local restaurants, taverns, and hotels have also benefited from the contest. And team spirit often could be disruptive, both on the field and off. 

Norman added that for all the finality surrounding this Friday’s game, no one’s completely saying “never again.”

“I’m certainly not on the inside, but I would imagine that there’s gotta be some talk about getting this going again in the future,” he said. 

That Ducks versus Beavers match-up could be a nonconference game, or one at a college bowl. 

Another long-time football rivalry will continue. The University of Washington and Washington State announced this week that their annual match-up, known as the “Apple Cup,” will return for at least five more years.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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