$140M Cotton Bowl Renovations Help Fair Park Keep Texas-OU Game Through 2036

An ongoing voter-approved renovation of the Cotton Bowl has helped spur UT and OU to continue their historic rivalry at Fair Park for years to come. The teams have been playing each other at the stadium since 1929.

Last year, Dallas voters approved $300 million in improvements to Fair Park, including $140 million slated for renovations to the Cotton Bowl. The promise of a spiffier Cotton Bowl has helped seal the deal for keeping one of its most treasured events: the annual Texas-OU football game.

On Wednesday, the University of Texas and Oklahoma University jointly announced an agreement to extend their historic rivalry at the Cotton Bowl through 2036.

The agreement continues a tradition that began nearly 100 years ago in 1929, and had its last rendition on October 7, when OU slipped by UT 34-30.

Planned renovation to Gate A Concourse at the Cotton Bowl [Image: Overland Partners]

“There’s 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,” UT Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “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.”

Per the agreement, the Dallas Sports Commission and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District will be increase the annual payment to each school, though no terms were disclosed.

Overland Partners has been hired to lead the design work on the Cotton Bowl renovations, working with McAfee3, Modus, and Norman Alston to restore and renovate the venue in collaboration with Fair Park First, Dallas Parks and Recreation, Visit Dallas, OVG360, and AECOM.

Planned upgrades to food and beverage offerings at the Cotton Bowl [Image: Overland Partners]

The two-year project aims to infuse “new vitality” into the iconic venue while creating “indelible fan experiences.”

Plans include widening the stadium’s concourses, enhancing circulation, and offering improved food and beverage options, along with expanded restrooms. An expanded array of hospitality areas and premium environments are slated to “elevate the Cotton Bowl’s overall fan experience and catalyze positive economic impact for future improvements across Fair Park and the community,” Overland Partners said in a blog post.

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