If Texas and OU Need More Seats to Stay at the Cotton Bowl, Well, There Is Room to Expand

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It's been all of three years, almost to the day, since then-Mayor Tom Leppert and Tennell Atkins played a game of catch on the Cotton Bowl field to formally commemorate the end of $57 million worth of redos, $30 million of which was paid for out of the 2006 bond program with the State Fair of Texas covering the rest of the costs. Said Leppert of the landmark, given a high-def upgrade and expanded to hold 92,100, "It's time to stop looking back and asking the what-if questions and instead to double our efforts to promote new college games here and to get other events right here in Fair Park."

Turns out, though, all that money and all those seats and upgrades were nice, but not enough to guarantee Texas and Oklahoma will stay at the Cotton Bowl past 2015. A Friend of Unfair Park directs our attention to UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds's comments made earlier this week about how if Texas and OU are going to Red River shoot-out past the current contract, then the city and State Fair are going to "need to bring something to the table to have us go beyond that," which is why State Fair President Errol McKoy and Pete Schenkel are working on a plan to present to council some time early next year.

But, our Friend wonders: Is that even possible -- adding more and more to a stadium that's just been through a fairly extensive renovation? To which the short answer is: Yes, absolutely.

On the other side, Willis Winters, second in command at Park & Rec and one of those who oversaw the recent redo, explains.

"There is room," Winter tells Unfair Park this afternoon. "When we renovated and expanded three years ago, we designed it" so there would be room to expand if need be. "If you go now, there are club seats in the end zone over the team ramps. The two upper decks were designed structurally to allow that club seating -- and there's 200 seats in there -- to go around the two new upper decks in each end zone. So, structurally and from a design standpoint, it's very easy for us to add in additional club seats. We anticipated that this would be a request at some point in the future and incorporated it into the design.

"Basically, it's all open-steel structure under the upper deck, and it's easy to come back in and drop in a concrete slab and five, six rows of sets. But we'd have to put in stairs, restrooms and concession stands."

Not an elevator?

"There's an elevator in the south end zone and in the north," he says, "so, no, I don't think so."

As for how many extra seats they could pack into the Cotton Bowl, well, Winters doesn't want to be too specific at the moment. After all, this is a ways down the road, and the city would have to hire an architectural design firm and draw up construction docs before it can drill down to the exact number of seats it can add. So, for now, let's leave it at this: "It's substantial." Not ginormous, not insignificant -- but somewhere in between. Substantial.

As for the cost ...

I've left messages for McKoy and Schenkel, who Winters says have been crunching the numbers. Right now, though, the city understands the price tag to be somewhere around $35 million. And, Winters reminds, there's no city money available to pay for the project -- which is why, per Chuck Carlton's story, Schenkel's crafting a plan to present to city officials sooner than later. If the State Fair or the private sector wants to cough up the money, that would be one thing; but if they expect the city to kick in a contribution, Winters says, that would have to be part of a bond program. And City Hall's just now gearing up for the 2012 bond election, which will be held in 14 months.

Finally, how long would this latest round of renovations take? Not long at all.

"It could be done in one season, between the Ticket City Bowl and the Texas-OU game in October," Winters says. "That project could probably be accomplished in a 10-month period."
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23 comments
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FRED
FRED

A little stunned by the colossal greed expressed - I hope we can keep this tradition going for the sake of everyone involved - you know - the people who love the game, football, Dallas and the State Fair.

mdmost
mdmost

Texas/OU has determined who goes to the BCS national championship game 6 times since the BCS started in 1998. It's one of ABC's highest rated college football games each year. Are you aware that Texas and OU played each other since the 1900s up till 1996 while in different conferences?

Again, you like the city of Dallas losing 20-30 million a year? If the game goes away from the Cotton Bowl, it's going home and home. 

elbueno
elbueno

No fan wants to see this game move. Its as big of a tradition as you can get. 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Big Bob once again shows who's the sporty writer around here.

Would it be as fun a game at the Deathstar? No

Would it make a shitload more $ for both schools if held in the Deathstar? Yep

Will it end up moving to the Deathstar and not going Home and Home? Indeed

All good things come to an end boys and girls, and we all know the all mighty dollar is more important to U of T and the wagonburners, Stay Hard Cotton Bowl...you'll always have Grambling/Prairieview.

mdmost
mdmost

Both school's ADs have said the game makes them more money at the Cotton Bowl. More seats, no need for standing room only seats. Not having to deal with Cowboys PSL or suite holders. One ticket price that can get increased every year (now ~$110) instead of tiered pricing at JerryWorld (ADs said the ticket price at JerryWorld would have to average $130 for them to get the some amount that the CB makes them). Money from the city of Dallas, the State Fair and the Friends of Fair Park vs. just Jerry pitching in money. Right now both schools make 5 million a year off the game in ticket sales and what the City pays them to play here. You think that won't increase during the 2015 negotiations. You think the City of Dallas wants to lose any piece of the 20-30 million the game makes the city each year? 

Stop buying the BS line that the "sports reporter" for this blog keeps throwing out. 

plfarmer
plfarmer

Dad told me if I went to Texas, he would pay for it all. Half if I went anywhere else. Zero if I went to A&M. Orangeblood from birth. But what the F have we done?First  Arkansas, then A&M, only a matter of time until OU-Texas moves out of Fair Park.When did college ball get so F'ed up.So bloods, stop the arrogence. OU, please stay. A&M, please come back.I will start. I promise zero noodling jokes. I promise to stay out of Tupinambas, where I use to go, stating in an outdoor voice,  that no, A&M is no longer Texas main rival, OU is. Tech is more A&M speed.This should start getting us back to the good ole days, when we did not fight about networks and stadium size, but fight about if Craig James could stay bought with just the one car.

Answer Man
Answer Man

whats the point?uh, they were in different conferences back in the swc days?UT/OU are the top two teams competing for the best Texas high school talent annually, which makes for a natural rivalry in itself? the long tradition of the series being played on a neutral site in front of sellout crowds?

ThatGuy
ThatGuy

Really weary of hearing college football bigshots make demands...

Ed D.
Ed D.

The bright side of TX/OU moving to Arlington is an end to the media reports of idiot fans thinking the DART trains can hold all 90,000 of them at once or that they can hop on in Plano with 10 minutes to kickoff and be in their seats before the anthem starts. They ain't Star Trek transporters, folks.

Big Tex
Big Tex

I went to the game one year thinking I could buy a single ticket right after kickoff started. It turned out to be a not so brilliant lesson in basic economics because the supply of UT/OU fans hanging around the fair spending money and not attending the game had to be in the tens of thousands. This thing goes to Arlilngton and people will be sad.

And please, don't ask me where Arlilngton is because I'm not really sure.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I'm not familiar with the circumstances surrounding the renovation, but why didn't the City extract some sort of concession (lease extension, etc.) from OU & Texas prior to spending $57 million on a redo?  That's what a private owner would have done.

Guest
Guest

They did.  That's why the game is being played there this year.  Otherwise, they would be doing a home and home or playing in Jerry World by now. 

mdmost
mdmost

The game is said to bring 20-30 million a year into Dallas. The Fair has their best weekend each year during that game weekend. A friend of a friend runs a booth near the Cotton Bowl. He goes through 70 kegs of beer on Texas OU game day. Losing the game would hurt Dallas. 

G_David
G_David

DeLoss Dodds can go screw himself for all I care.  The amount of revenue generated (because it's ALL about $) by the number of seats they could add is a trivial amount in the grand scheme of things.  92,000 seats is enough.  Unless the schools are going pay for it, they can play in the stadium as is.  Otherwise, they can take their ball and their bullsh demands and their Longhorn network and get the F out of here.

Full Disclosure: I'm a rabid Sooner - but they can get the F out of here too, the way they've behaved. Can you tell I've got a little college football bitterness working here?

Guest
Guest

Then they will.  I don't think either program wants to play in Dallas anyhow. 

G_David
G_David

But the fans want them too.

Guest
Guest

Well said sir!

CC
CC

You haven't been to Six Flags in a while or you would know that they do sell beer now. They have for the past two seasons. 

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

I would rather jam bic pens in both ears than ever go to a game at the jerrydome.  And Six Flags doesn't sell beer, so that wouldn't be an acceptable substitute.

G_David
G_David

I go to the game every year, and believe me, I shell out the $$$ for that privilege.  I wouldn't go to Jerry's Big Turd on the Prairie to watch the game if it was free.  But yes, I would make the trip to Norman or Austin.

MBM
MBM

While I agree that the real fans will show up regardless, it's also the die-hards that are demanding that game stays at the Cotton Bowl.  Moving the game to the Death Star would ruin the weekend, it would not be the same if not at the Fair.  I would rather it move to a home and home than for it to be in Arlington.

No one wants an annual neutral site game in that shitty mid-city. 

Dallas should shell out whatever is needed to keep the game.  Go Horns.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

The real fans (the ones who shell out the $$$ for the tickets) will go to the game whether it is at the cotton bowl, the jerrydome or a home/home in Austin and Norman.

lorlee
lorlee

For 1 or 2 games a year?

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