University of Oklahoma Athletics

Norman – The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas have agreed to a contract extension that will keep the historic Allstate Red River Rivalry football game in the Cotton Bowl through 2036, the schools announced Wednesday.

In addition to the Dallas Sports Commission and the Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District increasing the game fees paid to each school, as part of the agreement, the City of Dallas agreed to make the largest single investment in the history of Cotton Bowl Stadium. The $140 million, two-year renovation project honors the iconic legacy of Cotton Bowl Stadium and its distinctive architecture with sweeping improvements that elevate the fan experience.

Improvements to the Cotton Bowl Stadium include expanding the concourses and adding escalators, which increases the comfort level of fans entering and exiting the stadium. This will also include renovations to concessions and restrooms, as well as increasing the number of hospitality areas and premium environments, which will enhance speed of service for fans during events. The first phase of renovations on the west side of the stadium is scheduled to be completed by September 2026. The city is also scheduled to complete the second phase of significant renovations on the east side of the stadium by September 2034.

“The relationship between the Allstate Red River Rivalry and the venerable Cotton Bowl is unique no matter the sport,” said OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione. “Our new agreement ensures that this historic legacy of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at the Texas State Fair extends into the second century. Millions of fans over the years have cheered, in person, for the Sooners or the Longhorns on what has become almost hallowed ground. It makes sense for us to do everything we can with our partners to keep this tradition alive but also continue to improve the experience and reach for our fans. “The stadium renovations will be extensive, and we can make it happen.” “Can’t wait for our fans to experience the improvements.”

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Cotton pot renovation renderings

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“We are thrilled to be able to extend the contract and continue our partnership with Oklahoma, the State Fair of Texas and the City of Dallas in our great game,” said UT Vice President and Director of Athletics Lewis and Richard Folger Chris Deal. Conte. “There’s nothing ever quite like the Allstate Red River Rivalry game, and with all of its history, tradition and pomp, it needs to stay in the Cotton Bowl. Generations of fans have made so many memories in the iconic stadium surrounded by the clubhouse. This is the State Fair of Texas, and we’re excited to continue That’s for a long time to come.

The long rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma dates back to 1900 and the teams played for the 119th time in 2023. This was the 95th consecutive year (since 1912) that the game was played at a neutral site, equidistant from both schools. While the rivals have met on the grounds of the State Fair since 1929 and at Cotton Bowl Stadium since its construction in 1930.

“This ride is nostalgic for so many,” said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Gleiber. “This rivalry has been played at the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas for nearly a century. It is the most unique venue in all of college football. Longhorns and Sooners fans have centered an annual tradition around this game, traveling to Dallas every year. Year “To show their pride and be a part of the most storied rivalry in college football history.”

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“Growing up in Dallas and being a huge college football fan, I always loved the annual Texas/Oklahoma game during the State Fair,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “It’s a tradition-filled matchup between historic rivals that does a great job of showcasing Dallas and the State Fair of Texas on a national level, while also contributing to the economic vitality of our city. I’m thrilled that both schools are committed to continuing the tradition through at least 2036 — Texas’ bicentennial.”

The City of Dallas has engaged Brian Truby, FAIA, a project manager with Overland Partners, to lead the redesign effort to renovate Cotton Bowl Stadium.

“Overland is honored to work with an outstanding team of visionaries and stewards with a shared commitment to securing a bright and sustainable future for Fair Park starting with the Cotton Bowl renovations for the 2026 game,” Truby said. “The Cotton Bowl harnesses our unique understanding of civic and cultural action, sports and entertainment venues, guest experience, and placemaking to reimagine one of Dallas — and our nation’s — most important and iconic venues.”

Additionally, Learfield will continue its partnership with Allstate Red River Rivalry.

“We have partnered with Oklahoma and Texas in the Allstate Red River Rivalry for nearly 30 years, and it is an honor to continue that relationship as they expand their agreement with the Cotton Bowl as the home of this iconic game,” said Andrew Wheeler. Learfield Executive Vice President, Multimedia Rights. “We look forward to many successful years connecting passionate fans to the traditions of the Allstate Red River Rivalry experience.”

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