Magic City Classic, Talladega share weekend

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - For the first time ever in Birmingham history, the Magic City Classic and NASCAR'S Talladega fall race will be held on the same weekend.

The Classic is always played the last Saturday in October and this year, the races were moved to accommodate the TV network's schedule.

"Frankly the net impact hasn't been negative, it's actually been positive," said Gene Hallman of the Alabama Sports Foundation.  He says the two events create the largest economic impact Birmingham has ever seen from a sports related event.

"This is going to be a huge weekend for hotels, restaurants, malls," Hallman said.  "The economic impact will be 40-50 million dollars."

But not everyone agrees that it's a good idea.

"We wish it hadn't changed," said Andy Seal, general manager of the Birmingham Marriott Hotel.  "Where we used to have two bookend weekends we'd fill, we now only have one."

As for fans, they have varying opinions as well.

"I don't agree with that," said Alicia Thomas as she helped her family set up a tent at Legion Field.  "I think they should work the weekends where people can share.  It's not fair for the hotels and trying to get Classic and Talladega fans."

"It doesn't matter to me because I'm going to be here regardless," says Anthony Riley.