The SMU football team returned to the Cotton Bowl, which was their home stadium for 31 years (1948-78), for the 1995 season. The Cotton Bowl bears a plaque on the west side proclaiming it "The House That Doak Built," referring to the fact that the stadium was expanded twice in the late 1940s to accomodate the overflow crowds that came to see Doak Walker, the greatest player in SMU history. The Mustangs actually played the first game in the Cotton Bowl in 1930 (a 27-0 victory over Indiana) when it was built for $328,000 and had 45,507 seats. The Cotton Bowl, which seats 68,252, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in preparation for the 1994 World Cup, including a remodeled press box and improved dressing rooms.
Michael A. Greenberg Writes "The house that Doak built" stands as a lasting legacy of football in Texas. The new grass in the facility is second to none, except maybe the Rose Bowl. This stadium and city deserves a Tier 1 bowl game. Go Mustangs!
Cotton Bowl Dome Foundation Moving Forward with Project
By Don Muret, August 1997
The Cotton Bowl Dome Foundation is back on track in Dallas. It has hired Spectacor Management Group's Network International to sell luxury suite and club seats and the Gene Stallings-led CB Marketing Group to push PSLs.
In addition, the foundation announced it will join with the Jack Beckman-directed Mesquite Championship Rodeo to produce an annual rodeo & livestock show at Fair Park, home of the State Fair of Texas.
The $150-million project to cover the Cotton Bowl was side-tracked for six months after the original marketing firm stalled in efforts to secure upfront financing for construction, said Mark Berger, Network International director of marketing.
But since last January, the 9-year-old SMG division has signed 15 corporations that have committed $1 million each toward building costs. In return, those businesses will own 16-seat Founders Suites between the 35-yard lines, said Berger.
"We're are looking to sell 80 suites and 4,000 club seats, along with PSLs to individual college games featuring regional schools," he said. Suites and club seat packages are selling for $650,000 - $1 million for 40-year leases. Some 20-year leases are available.
Network International sells advertising/event sponsorships for 165 SMG facilities. That includes sponsors for the annual Florida-Georgia college football game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Berger said, "We have had to educate the marketplace on what it is we have for sale and why Dallas should step up with a civic-minded approach to pull the project off. There has been a lot of skepticism and wait-and-see attitudes, especially from the local business community.
CB Marketing Group - owned by former National Football League player and coach Stallings and Dallas businessman Al Wahl - is in charge of convincing the likes of Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Arkansas to join Texas and Oklahoma in playing annual games at the Cotton Dome.
Persuading people to purchase $80 - $120 million PSLs to experience those regional rivalries is also part of CB Marketing Group's responsibility. "Essentially, everything we are selling are PSLs. The suites are just PSLs with walls."
"The (August 14, 1997) announcement was two-fold. One reason was to alert everyone that we are coming to a boardroom near you. The other message involved Gene Stallings, who is very, very important to the project," Berger added.
"Right now, all the money is to be designated for construction. We are hoping for $75 million and will look at privately financing the rest of the project. We don't need the $150 million upfront. There are no deadlines within the next 12 months."
Fair Park General Manager Eddie Hueston told Amusement Business that the Cotton Dome project is "still a hard read" and that no contract for operation has been signed with the city of Dallas "for the right to do what they're doing."
Hueston said, "Getting Gene Stallings was not a bad move at all. He carries credibility in the college game. But there is a big difference between pledges and hard money in the bank.
"The next couple of months will be the critical time. They needed to give the project to give the project some momentum. If it doesn't pick up, then the foundation could be in trouble. But there is no question that the group has made a lot of headway. Everyone is encouraged at this point."
Mesquite Rodeo's Beckman is a member of the dome foundation. "Two years ago, I didn't think it had a chance. But now, it is getting to the point where I am a believer. It is beginning to take some shape and form," he said.
"It started out as one man's dream," Beckman said, alluding to Darrell Jordan, head of the foundation and the man who originally had the vision of making the Cotton Bowl a world-class facility. "He has done a great job of making this all come about."
Beckman said the rodeo and livestock show could be squeezed between the annual Houston and Fort Worth spring events. "Or it could be in the summer, although we also wouldn't want it to conflict with our rodeo. But there is room for everything." The Mesquite Championship Rodeo runs every April through September.
"With the site in the heart of the state fairgrounds, it is a perfect setting to have a major stock show. And it would be very interesting from a rodeo production standpoint," said Beckman.
Directions to the Cotton Bowl
Take (Interstate/Route 77) South to (Interstate 30) East. Exit 2nd Avenue. Follow
appropriate signs to venue site, parking.
From Texarkana Texas/Arkansa:
Take (Interstate 30/67) West. Exit Barry Avenue, Haskell Avenue, Hatcher. Follow
signs to venue site, parking
From Shreveport LA:
Take (Interstate 20/80) West. Exit Haskell Avenue. Follow appropriate signs to
venue site, parking.
From Houston Texas:
Take (Interstate 45) North to (Interstate 30) East. Exit 2nd Avenue. Follow
appropriate signs to parking.
From Waco Texas:
Take (Interstate 35) East north to (Interstate 30) East (Texarkana). Exit at Haskell
Avenue. Follow appropriate signs to parking.
From Fort Worth:
Take International Parkway South to toll gate to (Route 183) East to (Interstate 35)
East to (Interstate 35) East south. Take (Interstate 30) East to Texarkana
Exit (Interstate 30) 2nd Avenue. Follow appropriate route signs to venue site,
From Irving Texas, Points N.W. to Oklahoma:
Take (route 183) east to (35) East south to (Interstate 30) East. Exit at Central
Expressway, south on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Follow appropriate signs
to venue site, parking.
From Garland Texas, Points N.E. Oklahoma/Arkansas:
Take Highway/East Grand Southwest to Haskell Avenue, Barry Avenue. Follow
appropriate signs to venue site, parking.
From Duncanville/Cedar Hill/Waxahachie:
Take (route 67) North to (Interstate 35) East north. Follow (30) East (Texarkana)
Exit 2nd Avenue. Follow appropriate signs to parking.
NO PROGRESS ON COTTON BOWL DOME
September 30, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
Dallas officials are still stalled on a $140 million plan to put a
dome on the city's Cotton Bowl stadium. Work on the project, which included
new luxury suites and other amenities, was stopped when the city decided to
make a bid for the 2012 Olympics. The pause was intended to give the
organizing committee a chance to review its venue needs and determine the
best use of the Cotton Bowl. Since then no progress has been made. So far
$30 million has been raised and dome supporters are concerned that too long
a delay will hurt the credibility of the project. The original plan called
for the Cotton Bowl Foundation to fund the work and operate the city-owned
venue. The foundation would get earnings from the 80 luxury suites, 4,000
club seats and stadium advertising. Profits from ticket sales, concessions
and parking would be evenly divided between a stadium repair and
maintenance fund and a fund that supports other Fair Park facilities.
Profits are expected to be between $2 million and $3 million a year.
Foundation officials say they hope to earn a total of $75 million
before seeking outside financing for the project.
The local Olympic committee is expected to have a final
determination on its venue needs early next year. The US Olympic Committee
will determine its nominee in 2002 and the International Olympic Committee
will select a site in 2005. If the venue is to be used for the Olympics,
the current plans will likely be expanded to allow more seating. Tax funds
would also be needed and taxpayers would be responsible if the project goes
over cost. For that reason, politicians are hesitant to move ahead until
they know exactly where they stand.
The Cotton Bowl and the Fair Park around it is central to the
city's bid because it provides a strong location for opening and closing
ceremonies along with other activities throughout the 277 acres available.