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Magic City Classic rescheduled for mid-April

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 12:34 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The SWAC announced its spring schedule Monday morning, highlighted by a mid-April date for the Magic City Classic.

Alabama State and Alabama A&M will meet at Legion Field for their annual rivalry game on April 17. The game is the final week of scheduled regular-season games before the Cricket Wireless SWAC Football Championship on May 1.

This spring will mark the 79th Magic City Classic between the teams from Montgomery (Alabama State) and Huntsville (Alabama A&M). The Classic brings in more than $23 million for the city during that weekend.

You can view the full SWAC schedule by clicking here.

Because the game will no longer happen this fall, Birmingham city leaders are now scrambling to make adjustments to the budget.

“We think it’s going to be a unique opportunity to do something great,” said SWAC Commissioner, Dr. Charles McClelland.

“Clearly October is the Magic City Classic date that everybody’s accustomed to that October date, but COVID-19 is turning everything upside down. This is an opportunity for you to be able to plan, you have about six and a half months to be able to plan,” McClelland said.

The classic, which is the largest Historically Black College and University football game in the country, is played each year at Legion Field.

This October would have marked the 79th Magic City Classic between Alabama A&M and Alabama State, but now fans will have to wait until April.

“And the reason why we pushed it so far down the road is we are anticipating a vaccine. So, we want to be able to have fans, we want to be able to have bands, we want to have the whole show for the Magic City Classic. So, we just want everybody to be patient,” McClelland explained.

The event is a huge economic boost the Birmingham area, bringing in some $25 million.

And city leaders will now have to find a way to make up the loss.

“Those are some of the conversations we’ll be having starting tomorrow once we receive the proposed budget from the mayor,” said Birmingham City Council President, William Parker.

“Those are conversations that the council will be having with the park board and other stakeholders to figure out how do we fill the October Magic City Classic, so we’re going to have to be creative,” Parker said.

The SWAC was the first conference to move football to the spring, and commissioner McClelland said they had to move quickly to secure all venues to accommodate the 70,000 or so fans who attend each year.

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