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Cotton Bowl Stadium History

The house that Doak built – and Elvis rocked


THE COTTON BOWL STADIUM OPENED IN 1932 AS A 46,000-SEAT VENUE KNOWN AS FAIR PARK STADIUM.

Today, the stadium seats more than 91,000 and plays host to numerous sporting events.

Chief among them are the annual:

  • AT&T Red River Showdown
    Pitting the football teams of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas.

  • Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic
    Featuring the teams and halftime shows of Grambling State University and Prairie View A&M University

In 1937, the first Cotton Bowl game took place in this stadium, and the bowl’s identity as one of the premier sporting venues in America's cotton belt was secured. The stadium ceased to host of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic in 2010.

A HOME FOR MANY GREAT ATHLETES

Over the years, the stadium has served as the home for numerous athletic teams, including the:

  • Dallas Texans of the National Football League (1952)

  • Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (1960-1970)

  • Dallas Texans of the American Football League (1960-1962)

  • SMU Mustangs of the NCAA (1932-1978 and 1995-2000)

  • Dallas Independent School District Football Playoffs (1974-Present)

  • Dallas Tornado of the North American Soccer League (1967-1968)

  • Dallas Burn/FC Dallas of Major League Soccer (1996-2002 and 2004-2005)

Cotton Bowl Stadium also hosted several of the preliminary matches of the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

A HOME FOR MANY GREAT ENTERTAINERS

However, the stadium has served as much more than the site of athletic contests.

In 1956, a 21-year-old Elvis Presley attracted 27,000 fans to the stadium, at that time the largest crowd to attend an outdoor concert in Texas. In the late 1970s, the band Aerosmith recorded their first live concert in the Cotton Bowl.

Meanwhile, during the 1980s, the Texxas Jam concert series in the Cotton Bowl featured such notable acts as Bruce Springsteen, Heart, Journey, Van Halen, Santana and the Eagles, among others.


Elvis Presley at Cotton Bowl Stadium, 1956