Everything is bigger in Texas… but that does not appear to include the Longhorns’ stadium. It will, however, be a lot nicer.
UT’s regents on Thursday approved of a $175 million expansion for Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium but perhaps the most notable aspect of the project, according to the Austin American Statesman, is that it will not be adding capacity to the venue at all despite that big price tag. Instead, seating capacity will remain right around 100,119 but will complete the lower bowl of the stadium by adding a host of club seats and an even bigger video board than the current ‘Godzillatron’ that is currently in place.
The team’s football facility will also be totally revamped as part of the construction but a timeline was not given for the entire project to be completed.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the expansion of DKR is not the upgraded bells and whistles it brings to Austin but for the fact that it somewhat puts an end to the tit-for-tat capacity war with rival Texas A&M. The two schools have continually tried to one-up each other the past several decades by building bigger and bigger expansions but it seems that the Longhorns are finally okay with being just behind the Aggies, leading to this funny exchange at the meeting on Thursday the AAS recounted:
“How many seats does Kyle Stadium have?” Regent Jeff Hildebrand asked, referring to Texas A&M’s football stadium, Kyle Field.
The Aggies’ home field seats 102,733 after a dramatic renovation fueled by the team’s move to the Southeastern Conference. Someone in the room shouted out 105,000. “What’s it take to get another four thousand (seats)?” one UT regent asked.
“We can certainly look at that,” (school president Greg Fenves) told the regents. “We’ve talked extensively about this. We believe we have enough seats in the stadium for our program.”
To which Chairwoman Sara Martinez Tucker said, “It’s quality, not quantity.”
Perhaps when things are finally complete up in Austin, both Texas and Texas A&M can check out each others stadium and finally renew their longstanding rivalry on the football field in their brand new palaces to the sport in the great state they both call home.