Texas vs OU will be played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium through 2036

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas Austin and University of Oklahoma have agreed to a contract extension saying the Allstate Red River Rivalry game will continue to be played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium through 2036, the schools announced in a news release.

The single largest investment in the stadium’s history will be made by the City of Dallas, at an estimated $140 million. The two year project includes renovations to the stadium to enhance the fan experience, the release said.

The Dallas Sports Commission and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District is increasing the game fees paid to each school.

“We’re thrilled we’ve been able to extend the contract and continue our partnership with Oklahoma, the State Fair of Texas and the City of Dallas on our great game,” said UT Vice President and Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director Chris Del Conte in the release. “There is absolutely nothing like the Allstate Red River Rivalry game, and with all of its history, tradition and pageantry, it needs to stay in the Cotton Bowl. So many memories have been made by generations of fans at the iconic stadium surrounded by the spectacle that is the State Fair of Texas, and we’re excited to be continuing that long into the future.”

The renovations include widening concourses and adding to escalators, advancements to concessions and restrooms and increasing the number of hospitality areas and premium environments. The first phase of renovations on the west side of the stadium is estimated to be completed by September 2026. The second phase on the east side is scheduled to be finish by September 2034.

“The relationship between the storied Allstate Red River Rivalry and the venerable Cotton Bowl is one-of-kind regardless of sport,” said OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione. “Our new agreement guarantees this historic legacy of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at the State Fair of Texas will stretch into a second century. Millions of fans throughout the years have cheered, in-person, for the Sooners or Longhorns on what’s become almost sacred ground. It only makes sense for us to do all we can with our partners to keep that tradition alive but also continue to improve upon the experience and access for our fans. The stadium renovations will be extensive, and we can’t wait for our fans to experience the enhancements.”

For nearly a century, the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners have battled the Red River Rivalry game equal distance between the two college towns. The rivalry started in 1900, and 2023 was the 119th game played by Texas and Oklahoma. It was the 95th consecutive year the teams played the game on neutral ground, the release said.

The teams started playing at the Texas State Fair in 1929. Since the Cotton Bowl Stadium was built in 1930, the two teams have played in the stadium.

“This game is nostalgic for so many,” said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber in the release. “This rivalry has been played in the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair of Texas for nearly a century. It is the most unique setting in all of college football. Both Longhorns and Sooners fans have centered annual traditions around this game, traveling to Dallas every year to showcase their pride and be a part of the most iconic rivalry in college football history.”

The City of Dallas is working with Bryan Trubey, FAIA, project principal with Overland Partners to design the renovations.

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

Learfield will continue its nearly 30-year partnership with the Allstate Red River Rivalry.

The Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said he has always loved the Texas vs Oklahoma game and is happy to see the schools continue to play in Dallas.

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