Oklahoma and Texas have been playing their annual college football rivalry game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas for more than eight decades. In recent years, there has been a lot of speculation that the game might be moved out of the state fairgrounds and possibly to much plusher AT&T Stadium – otherwise known as the Jerry Jones Dome – where the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL play their games.
You can put those rumors to bed. The two schools announced this week that they have agreed to an extension of the current contract that will keep the Red River Showdown game at the Cotton Bowl through the year 2025.
The previous agreement was to run through 2020, provided that the city of Dallas makes upgrades and improvements to the Cotton Bowl facility, located at Fair Park, where the State Fair of Texas is held every fall. The city did make the improvements specified in the prior agreement.
The stadium improvements included a new scoreboard, the addition of an upper deck at both ends of the field, which created 16,000 more seats and increased the stadium seating capacity to around 92,000. The cost of the stadium construction and remodeling is estimated at $57 million. In addition, ESPN.com reports that incremental spending of $25 million was used to improve amenities at the Cotton Bowl.
ESPN.com’s Jake Trotter also reports that both teams receive $500,000 for playing the game in Dallas, along with an even split of ticket sales.
Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma athletic director, said in a statement that the Sooners are “thrilled about preserving the rich tradition of the game.” Texas athletic director Steve Patterson told a Dallas Morning News reporter that the Cotton Bowl has a “feeling and tradition to playing” that makes it a better location than any other alternative (speaking mainly in reference to five-year-old AT&T Stadium in Arlington).
The two teams have played each other at the Cotton Bowl in conjunction with the state fair since 1929. The game has been called the Red River Shootout, the Red River Rivalry and, beginning in 2014, the name has again been changed, this time to “Red River Showdown.” The game itself creates a visual spectacle, with half of the stadium dressed out in the Longhorns’ school color of burnt orange and the other half in Oklahoma crimson.
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