As part of the deal, the city of Dallas has agreed to an estimated $140 million renovation of the aging stadium, which opened in 1930. The Longhorns and Sooners first met at a neutral site at the State Fair of Texas in 1929 and have played every game in the Cotton Bowl since it opened the next year. The rivalry game began in 1900 and the two teams played for the 119th time this season.
In recent years, as teams around the country have played at neutral sites in modern NFL stadiums, there have been questions if Texas and Oklahoma should consider a similar arrangement. But both schools have continuously stated they hoped to remain at the Cotton Bowl in the middle of the state fair, one of the most unique settings in college football.
"The relationship between the storied Allstate Red River Rivalry and the venerable Cotton Bowl is one-of-kind regardless of sport," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "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."
Texas and Oklahoma have agreed to extend their contract with the Cotton Bowl through 2036, with Dallas agreeing to $140 million in renovations, including in the 1930 stadium's cramped concourses, with this rendering of the expected changes. pic.twitter.com/bvTYB48U9p— Dave Wilson (@dwil) December 6, 2023
His counterpart at Texas shared similar sentiments.
"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," Texas' Chris Del Conte said. "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."
As part of the agreement, the Dallas Sports Commission and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District will be increasing the payout to each school. Terms were not disclosed, but as part of their current contract that expires in 2025, each school received $500,000.
Dallas has hired Overland Partners to work on the stadium's redesign, which is expected to include "sweeping enhancements," including widening concourses, adding escalators and renovations to concessions and restrooms. The first phase of renovations to the west side of the stadium is to be completed by Sept. 2026. The city is also scheduled to finish a second phase of significant renovations to the east side of the stadium by September 2034.