Deal includes 4,000 seats added to Cotton Bowl

Updated: March 11, 2004, 1:53 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The annual Red River Shootout between Texas and Oklahoma is staying put in Dallas for at least the next five years.

The schools had threatened to abandon the Cotton Bowl and start rotating the game between Austin and Norman, Okla., if the State Fair of Texas, the city of Dallas and other private groups didn't come up with enough money to keep the game in Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said Wednesday that a five-year contract has been approved. The previous contract was to expire in 2006.

Under the new deal, the city will provide $250,000 a year for expenses and will waive the $94,000 Cotton Bowl rental fee. The deal also calls for 4,000 seats to be added to the end zones at the stadium.

The football game adds as much as $20 million to the local economy each year.

Oklahoma President David L. Boren said that while he was pleased, he considered the agreement only an interim one. He said more progress would be needed before the contract is re-evaluated over the next three to four years.

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said there had been a "collective investment in the game and its future success."

"The improvements at the Cotton Bowl, which includes the expansion of the seating capacity, has been our top priority," he said. "The facility and its hosts must be responsive to the enormous fan interest in the game."

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds also was pleased with the deal.

"It's a home run for the city, and it's a home run for us," Dodds said. "I like the game in Dallas. It's where it belongs."

Ticket sales from the Red River Shootout generate $1 million for each school, but the schools had asked for an additional $350,000 to cover the rising cost of insurance and travel and lodging expenses for their bands and cheerleaders who attend the game.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press