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Multimillion $$ renovation needed to keep OU-Tx at Cotton Bowl

  • Multimillion dollar renovation needed to keep Red River Rivalry at Cotton Bowl

    Staff report
    Sporting News

    The Red River Rivalry offers arguably the best and most unique scene in all of college football. But the annual Texas versus Oklahoma matchup on the grounds of the State Fair of Texas could be in jeopardy if the Cotton Bowl doesn’t undergo major improvements, the Dallas Morning News reported Saturday.

    A deal to keep the game at Fair Park through 2020 is in the works, but it includes City Hall taking on $25.5 million more in debt to improve the stadium. The money would go toward renovating the façade of the Cotton Bowl, modernizing the press box, adding club seating and more.

    The Cotton Bowl had a $57-million renovation completed in 2008. (AP Photo)In 2008, $57 million in renovations were completed. That was funded in part with bond dollars approved by voters, and in part by the State Fair. The current deal runs through 2015.

    “I feel confident that we will get an agreement with the two schools,” Pete Schenkel, chairman of the State Fair of Texas sports committee, told the Morning News.

    Cowboys Stadium, the house built by Jerry Jones, has tried to lure the Red River Rivalry. The Cotton Bowl Classic has already moved to Cowboys Stadium. If the city of Dallas does not agree to the renovations, the game could very well move to a more modern neutral site.

    “Fair Park is one of the most important assets this city has, and the Cotton Bowl is really the crown of that,” Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings told the Morning News. “And this game, OU-Texas, is the jewel in that crown.”

    There is also discussion of other games playing at the Cotton Bowl each weekend the State Fair runs.

    The current renovation project would, in part, take money from the city’s general fund for basic services, a risk some city council members may not be willing to take.

    Read more:

    This post was edited by James Hale 2 years ago

  • I hope they can keep it for tradition sake...the alternative isn't bad either though. I would like to see the projection of cash flows...I would imagine they could easily justify the upgrade. The game means a lot to the fair. Great idea to have some other games there during the fair.

    I would think Tech, TCU, or Baylor would be good candidates. Even if it is a weak bowl game, they need to really work at getting another bowl game at the Cotton Bowl and forcing Jerry's bowl to rename itself. The Cotton Bowl should be played at THE Cotton Bowl IMO.

  • The ticket costs will go through the roof at Jerryworld.

  • Moving this game to the largely sterile and ho-hum surroundings of Arlington would take it away from one of the truly unique venues in all of college football. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings recognizes this - as well as the $20 mil the game annually generates - and appears committed to keeping the RRR where it rightfully belongs, in Fair Park. Hopefully he can sell it to the Dallas City Council, as unpredictable a group as there ever was.

    By the way, Rawlings also gets the name right. In an interview last week in the DMN about the game, he twice referred to it as OU-Texas, not the juxtaposed version preferred by the vast majority of the media in this "neutral" city.

    I am the morning DJ on WOLD

  • Face value of tickets now is $110 each. I can only imagine what Jerry would charge, plus his $30-40 parking fee, $9 beer, etc etc.

  • Not to mention one of the worst football venues in the country. Jerry built it for concerts, basketball games, monster trucks and football, etc and consequently ended up with something not very good for any of those things with quite possibly the worst sound system in America and the largest fan distraction in the history of sports - the video screen.

    When I watch games on TV I do it at home.

    Since the Cotton Bowl was expanded and converted to a double ring bowl, it, in my opinion, is one of the prettiest venues in the country. I for one personally like the old art deco facade.

    In several of my rants about moving the game to Jerry World. I say no, no, no. Move a nationally traditional game from a nationally known venue to the sterile glass house that is Jerry World? What the frick are THEY thinking whoever THEY are?

    At least, the current Dallas mayor isn't as short sighted as the carpet bagger Laura Miller. Now what Dallas can do about the corrupt politicians from South Dallas to keep their hands out of the money needed to upgrade the stadium, that will be the real question. Whenever any money might show up down there the South Dallas Politico hands go out like the tentacles on octopi and they end up ruining any potential to improve the area because of their me first attitudes.

  • This all true; however, this is also progress. Cowboy stadium is all weather and larger. Parking is convient . This game is more than OU and UT. Most of the football fans nation wide are watching. Thinking that this raises the popularity over other programs rivalries. Save your money for this event and make it top event. Been to fair park about 16 times and always wished for more space and a less frightening experience (girlfriends thoughts). JMHO folks!

  • In the past I've been very critical of the Cotton Bowl, particularly before the expansion in 2008.

    The place is still a hell-hole, but -- with these renovations and upgrades at least they are moving in the right direction.

    In time, I agree it will be very nice and, now with the expansion and these renovations, I'd like to stay there.

    The Jerry Dome is crap. I agree that the video screen is the 'biggest distraction' in sports and the 'sight lines' are average at best!

    I toured the venue with Colorado HC Dan Hawkins two months before it opened.(We were on a guided tour, with several other Big 12 people). After hearing how big, how great, how much money it cost, how nothing ever could compare for an hour, Coach Hawkins looked at me and said,

    "So where does the average fan fit into this picture? Could college students ever come to a place like this? To me, this place is way over the top, and the venue is the show, not the guys on the field working their tails off!"

    I agreed then, I agree now.

    Hooray for the folks at the Cotton Bowl who decided to keep improving the place. (Now, if we could just do something about getting past those ridiculous concession tickets that rip you off almost as big as Jerry.)


    (Disclaimer: The above is my private opinion posted as a fan, and may or may not reflect the opinions of OUInsider staff or management).

  • Any guess at kickoff time this year? I have a vested interest this year.

  • screw a new pressbox, how about spending it on the people that PAY MONEY!!!. Like some decent restrooms and concessions.

  • Russ - seriously uninformed.

    Parking may be more convenientor maybe.

    As for larger no way!!!

    Here are the facts:

    Stadiium Capacity City Team
    1 Michigan 109901 Ann Arbor Wolverines
    2 Penn State 107282 University Park Nittany Lions
    3. Estadio Azteca 104003 Mexico City Mexico Club
    4. Neyland Stadium 102459 Knoxville Volunteers
    5. Ohio Stadium 102329 Columbus Buckeyes
    6. Bryant-Denny 101821 Tuscaloosa Crimson Tide
    7 Darrell Royal 100119 Austin Whorns
    8. LA Coliseum 93607 Los Angeles Trojans
    9. Stanford Stadium 92756 Athens Bulldogs
    10 Rose Bowl 92542 Pasadena Bruins
    11 Tiger Stadium 92400 Baton Rouge Tigers
    12 Cotton Bowl 92100 Dallas OU/TX
    13 Ben Hill Griffin 88548 Gainseville Gators
    14 Jordan-Hare 87451 Auburn Tigers
    15 Bobby Bowden 83500 Tallahassee Seminoles
    16 Kyle Field 82600 College Station Aggies
    17 Met Life Stadium 82500 East Rutherford Giants
    18 Oklahoma
    Memorial Stadium 82112 Norman Sooners
    19 Memorial Stad. 82000 Clemson Tigers
    20 FedEx Field 82000 Landover Redskins
    21 Memorial Stad 81067 Lincoln Huskers
    22 NotreDame 80795 South Bend Fighting Irish
    23 Camp Randall 80321 Madison Badgers
    24 Silver Dome 80311 Pontiac Lions
    25 Williams Brice 80250 Columbia Gamecocks
    26 Cowboys Stad 80000 Arlington Cowboys

    The Cotton Bowl offiically seats 12,000 more than Jerry World and in 2011 paid attendence was almost 96,000. They packed us in somehow. Jerry Land can add extra seats and they claim they can bring it up to 90,000 which is still less than the Cotton Bowl and when they tried it for the Super Bowl several thousand were denied seats because they were deemed unsafe - I'm sure you read that. They also count the standing room only seats in the endzones where only people standing in the 1st couple of rows can actually see the field (been there and I have done my research). Jerry Jones is nothing if not the master of the mirage.

    Other stadiums larger than Jerry World are OUs and UT's. And as for being all weather - who cares? I've sat through a couple of cool games, some hot ones and some that were just perfect (most of the time) and a couple with rain and you know what? I wouldn't trade one single experience in the Cotton Bowl for the hot humid interior of Jerry World. The seats are nice though and it would be a good place for an opera, oh yeah if it weren't muddled, but it absolutely sucks for football. In my opinion, the old cowboy stadium was better for football. Jerry World is an edifice to Jerry's Ego and nothing more.

    This post was edited by chemalum77 2 years ago

  • "OU - Texas"

    I love it.

    signature image signature image signature image

    Downvote Me.

  • A video board on the north end(bigger than the one now, which is about the size of my tv at home) that the OU end can see is a must.

  • I was at the BYU game and the Big 12 championship vs Nebraska. Jerrys World sucks. Worst college football atmosphere I've been to. Paul Brown Stadium blows that place out of the water as far as atmosphere goes.

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  • I'm with Chemalum all the way. I went to the BYU game and hated Jerryworld. I didn't go to the CCG even though it was the last one against Nebraska as I knew I would enjoy the game more on TV than in that stadium. If the game moves to Jerryworld, I won't be going any longer and will then see no need to make any more than the minimum required donation to keep season tickets.

    signature image

    Live On University!

  • The OU/tx game should be at the Cotton Bowl forever! I sure hear a lot of complaints but to be honest I don't see it.. The field looks great, the seats are fine if you even sit? Never have too much of a issue getting water or cokes. Can go in and out for a cold beer. Food is well.. interesting at the Fair. Atmospher is unmatchable! I go to the bathroom no more than two times(how nice of bathrooms do we need?) then Im back at my seat standing.

    The fact is if it goes to the Death Star, you will not get to see the stadium split in its full allure. The jumbo screen is obnoxious! If you are up high you watch that more than the game. There will be less seats and more cost.


    This post was edited by KMFO4EVER 2 years ago

    I'm hell when I'm well.. And, I am never sick!

  • Jerry World simply proves that sometimes "Bigger is simply Bigger." Fans are further removed from the action, the video screen is a massive distraction, and the acoustics are a joke.

    Beyond that, the full experience of the OU / Texas game - fair park corny dogs, the midway, car show, crowds, is simply an atmosphere that builds to the anticipation of the game itself. I believe that the admistrations of both schools know that this game has immense meaning for their fans, and for the teams themselves. The opportunity to play in this game, take the bus ride through the crowds, stand face to face with your opponent in the common tunnel, these are the memories that players from both schools recount time and time again when reflecting on their college careers.

    I also believe that the City of Dallas knows that they cannot afford to lose the annual economic impact this game has on their hotels and restaurants, and will continue to invest. That said, they have already completed the single most important improvement to the stadium - and the one which also affords the City the greatest security in maintaining this game - by increasing the seating capacity in a very real way. I doubt either school will be eager to tell several thousand season ticket holders that they won't get OU / Texas Tickets due to moving to Jerry-World. And others would presumable be sold the "privlege" of standing on the party terrace instead of being given an actual seat. I'm sure THAT would be a letter neither athletic department wants to mail.

    After fumbling badly on the Cowboys Stadium the City of Dallas seems more aware of the importance of investing in key events and organizations to keep the City vibrant.

    Besides - after 35 years of "research", I have finally found the ultimate "secret" route to beat the traffiic and get to Fair Park. I don't want to start over!

    This post was edited by Steady 2 years ago

  • This post is for members of OUInsider only. Join now! 30-Day Free Trial
  • Dallas blew it when the declined to make a deal with Jerry. There are so few games played in the cotton bowl that every year that passes puts us closer to leaving. Two of the last three years the bathrooms backed up. The facility is in decline and 50 or 60 million won't change that. I can understand why those who work at the fairgrounds or serve on the board want dallas to poney up but the numbers won't work. If dallas generates 50 million income to their economy per year how much of it each year will be needed to fund a completely new stadium. I like the game at the fair but the facility sucks.

  • Dallas County, most notably County Judge Margaret Keliher and Mayor Laura Miller, did indeed blow it when they would not work with Jerry. Arlington and Tarrant County now reap the millions in property and sales taxes that should have stayed home.

    As for the annual economic impact provided by the OU-tx game, the number I hear most often is $20 million, making it the largest single revenue-producing annual sporting event in the state of Texas. Dallas city and county leaders remember, and are constantly reminded, of the revenue lost when Jerry moved to Arlington, and I'm confident will not allow millions more to escape through inaction on needed renovations to the Cotton Bowl.

    That said, I still feel that at some point down the road, sadly, our game will end up at JerryWorld, and a college football treasure will be lost. I agree with all the shortcomings of Cowboys Stadium discussed here, but money talks these days. Witness conference realignment. Jerry has deep pockets and has shown he will not let money stand in the way of getting what he wants, and he wants this game.

    I am the morning DJ on WOLD

  • Why the hell are they renovating the facade??? Who cares what it looks like outside!

    I think the whorns/DeLoss are pushing this to enable game to eventually become home and home.

  • The restrooms at the Cotton Bowl are in shambles! My wife left last year with 5 minutes to play in the half to go to the restroom. She returned with 3 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter and went no place other than the restroom. All good things come to an end and it is time for the Cotton Bowl to give it up. They want to be big time but do not have the support of the city fathers to be big time. Old story, second verse.