In a joint announcement on Wednesday, the University of Texas (UT) and the University of Oklahoma (OU) confirmed an extension of their contract for the historic Allstate Red River Rivalry football game. The game will continue to be hosted at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas through the year 2036.
As part of the extended agreement, the Dallas Sports Commission and Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District will increase the game fees paid to each university. Notably, the City of Dallas has committed to a significant investment in the Cotton Bowl Stadium – an estimated $140-million, two-year renovation project. This renovation aims to honor the stadium's celebrated legacy and distinctive architecture while enhancing the overall fan experience.
The renovations will include the widening of concourses and the addition of escalators to improve fans' comfort during entry and exit. Concession and restroom facilities will undergo renovations, and there will be an increase in hospitality areas and premium environments, designed to enhance service speed for fans during events. The first phase of renovations to the west side of the stadium is expected to be completed by September 2026, with a second phase on the east side scheduled for completion by September 2034.
UT Vice President and Lois and Richard Folger Athletics Director Chris Del Conte expressed enthusiasm, stating, "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."
OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione added, "Our new agreement guarantees this historic legacy...will stretch into a second century," emphasizing the unique and enduring nature of the rivalry.
The Red River Rivalry dates back to 1900, and the two teams played for the 119th time in 2023. The game has been played at a neutral site for the last 95 consecutive years, with the Cotton Bowl Stadium hosting the rivalry since its construction in 1930.
State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber highlighted the game's nostalgic significance, noting that it has been played at the Cotton Bowl during the State Fair for nearly a century.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson expressed his excitement, saying, "I’m thrilled that both schools have committed to continue the tradition through at least 2036 – the bicentennial of the State of Texas."
The City of Dallas has enlisted Bryan Trubey, FAIA, project principal with Overland Partners, to lead the redesign efforts for the Cotton Bowl Stadium renovations.
Learfield will also continue its partnership with the Allstate Red River Rivalry, as confirmed by Andrew Wheeler, Learfield executive vice president, multimedia rights.