For those concerned that the annual Oklahoma-Texas game would be played anywhere but the Cotton Bowl for the foreseeable future, you can officially stop worrying.
City officials in Dallas confirmed Friday that it had received signed contracts from both OU and UT earlier in the afternoon, which guarantees that the Red River Rivalry (or “Red River Shootout” for the traditionalists in the audience) will be played in the Cotton Bowl through the 2020 season. The old deal was set to expire after the 2015 game.
“They wanted to stay in the Cotton Bowl and continue this longstanding tradition,” lead negotiator for the State Fair of Texas, Pete Schenkel, told the Dallas Morning News.
The OU-UT game, which was first played in 1900, has been played in the Cotton Bowl every year since 1932.
There had been speculation of late, though, that, because of the decaying state of the Cotton Bowl, the game could be moved elsewhere. Chief among the potential future locales was Jerry’s World, the new-ish home of the Dallas Cowboys in nearby Arlington.
On April 11, however, city council authorized the issuance of $25.5 million in debt to renovate the stadium, the Morning News wrote. The paper went on to write that “[t]he city intends to add historically appropriate facades to the end zones, rebuild the press box, add new club seating below the press box, upgrades concourses and improve concessions areas.”
That renovation is expected to commence in December and is scheduled to be completed in September of 2013.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the five-year contract extension? Each school will continue to receive a $500,000 guarantee for playing the game in the Cotton Bowl, the same amount each received under the terms of the old deal. Schenkel said that neither school sought additional funds in order to remain at the Cotton Bowl, which is a very refreshing and laudable development in this day and age.