Magic City Classic to be bigger than last year's

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Thousands are in Birmingham for the 69th Magic City Classic at Legion Field, and that means a big financial boost the local economy.

Organizers say the game between Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University brings an estimated $15 million to the local economy.  Last year, ticket sales were down and rain kept people away from the game. This year, organizers say ticket sales are up, and they are expecting a big crowd.

Many fans said they watched their spending last year, but this year they plan to make up for it.

"When family and friends come here from different states, they come and they spend money," said Alabama A&M fan Joseph Jones. "They go to the hair dresser, restaurants, hotels, they spend a lot of money. It's great for the entire area."

Many fans will be spending that money in downtown Birmingham thanks to events like the Triple Set.  The owners of The Wine Loft, Parthenon, The Compound, and Steel Urban Lounge teamed up to host one big party.

One ticket allows people to visit all four bars on First Avenue North.

"It really brings the city back to life for the weekend," said the owner of The Wine Loft, Mike Dunnavant. "I live downtown, and I have a business downtown. I try and get people downtown. And this is one thing that helps do that."

Kickoff for the game between Alabama A&M and Alabama State is at 2:30pm Saturday at Legion Field. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster.

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