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Design & Development

Cotton Bowl Stadium set for $140m revamp

Images: Overland Partners

Cotton Bowl Stadium is set to receive the single largest investment in its near 100-year history, with a redevelopment project pledged as part of the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas agreeing to a contract extension that will keep the historic Red River Rivalry American football game at the venue through 2036.

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 invest around $140m (£111.7m/€130.4m) in a two-year renovation project that intends to honour Cotton Bowl Stadium’s history and distinctive architecture with enhancements elevating the fan experience. 

Improvements to Cotton Bowl Stadium include widening concourses and adding escalators, increasing fans’ comfort level while entering and exiting the stadium. This will also include renovations to concessions and restrooms, plus increasing the number of hospitality areas and premium environments.

The first phase of renovations to the west side of the stadium is set to be completed by September 2026. The city is also scheduled to finish a second phase of significant renovations to the east side of the stadium by September 2034. 

The rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma goes back to 1900 and the two teams played for the 119th time in 2023. It was the 95th consecutive year, since 1912, that the game was played at a neutral site, equal distance from both schools, while the rivals have met on the grounds of the State Fair since 1929 and in the Cotton Bowl Stadium since it was built in 1930.

Dallas Mayor, Eric Johnson, said: “It is a tradition-filled matchup between historic rivals and does a wonderful job of showcasing Dallas and the State Fair of Texas nationally, while also contributing to the economic vitality of our city. 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 engaged Bryan Trubey, project principal with Overland Partners, to head up the redesign efforts for renovations to Cotton Bowl Stadium. Additionally, the Learfield agency will continue its partnership with the Red River Rivalry.

Trubey said: “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.”