Oklahoma and Texas announced Wednesday they will keep their annual rivalry game at Cotton Bowl Stadium through 2036 in a deal that includes significant renovations to the facility.
In addition to the Dallas Sports Commission and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District increasing the game fees paid to each school, as part of the agreement, the city of Dallas has agreed to an estimated $140 million, two-year renovation project — the single largest investment in the stadium’s history. Improvements will include widening concourses and adding escalators, renovations to concessions and restrooms and increasing the number of hospitality areas and premium environments.
“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 Athletics Director Chris Del Conte. “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 first phase of renovations, to the west side of the stadium, is to be completed by September 2026. A second phase of significant renovations to the east side of the stadium is to be completed 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 Oklahoma 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. The stadium renovations will be extensive and we can’t wait for our fans to experience the enhancements.”
The rivalry dates to 1900 and the two teams played for the 119th time in 2023, won by the Sooners. The schools have met on the grounds of the State Fair since 1929 and in the Cotton Bowl Stadium since it was built in 1930. The game is played at a neutral site, equal distance from the two schools.
“This game is nostalgic for so many,” said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber. “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 has engaged Bryan Trubey, FAIA, project principal with Overland Partners, to head up the redesign efforts for renovations to Cotton Bowl Stadium.
“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.”