College football season bringing big bucks to Alabama

With three weeks left in the regular season, tourism experts say the dollars raked in this year are significantly high.
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 6:45 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Each fall college football brings in millions of dollars of revenue for Alabama. While the exact numbers aren’t in, the Department of Tourism expects an even bigger impact on the economy than last season. They credit more consecutive home football games for Alabama’s various teams this season.

“They come to these football games, they have to stay in hotels, they dine at our local restaurants, they explore the area, and they’re contributing to the tourism sector,” said Brooklyn Lundy with the Alabama Department of Tourism.

And the impact of football season is noticeable according to Brooke Kastner with Auburn-Opelika Tourism.

“As far as the number of people that are in the area, we have seen a little bit more of a spend from people, especially on the lodging side, that are spending a little bit more money staying an extra night,” said Kastner.

Restaurants and bars are the top industry impacted by travel and tourism spending. That’s according to the Department of Tourism’s 2022 Economic Impact Report. Restaurants are followed by transportation expenses and then hotels.

“We also do have a company that looks at credit card activity. So visitor spending in the area where they can kind of see who is spending money that is a resident and then who is a visitor,” said Kastner.

Tuscaloosa and Auburn aren’t the only cities that benefit from football season.

“Some of the cities that have smaller schools that have a football team or any sort of sports that really makes a big impact in the communities,” said Kastner.

With more teams joining the SEC next season, there could be more out-of-state visitors and revenue for the state.

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