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Magic City Classic already making big economic impact back for Birmingham

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 3:53 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:38 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Magic City Classic is back. The game was canceled last year due to COVID-19, and the game was held with COVID restrictions in the spring this year. Now, fans are heading back to Birmingham for the big game, which is good news for hotels, restaurants and bars.

There are a lot of smiles heading into the weekend. Businesses said there is no question last year’s cancelation hurt their bottom line, and the spring game just didn’t bring out the usual number of fans and get them here early to spend money.

At Legion Field, you can see people getting ready to enjoy the week’s festivities and the big game on Saturday. They say they missed coming to Birmingham to spend money and have a good time, including one Birmingham man who has been coming to the game for 26 years.

“It’s one event we actually look forward to, and we kind of missed it the one year or so it was down, but we were kind of looking forward to it coming back,” Don Walker said.

Laura Newman, the owner of Queen’s Park Bar, says her business and others took a hit last year.

“The spring event just didn’t bring enough people to make up for canceling the main event. The Magic City Classic is always a great weekend for us,” Newman said.

Newman said it looks like fans are ready to get back to Birmingham and start enjoying themselves after missing out on the fun last year. The demand for reserve tables has been so great, they have stopped taking reservations.

“The bars are super busy. I think people are in a festive and celebratory mood. I think they are excited to see people they haven’t seen for the last two years. I think it will be really exciting for everyone,” Newman said.

Newman is expecting an increase in business of about 25% or more. The Executive Director of the Magic City Classic understands all too well what this week means for businesses in the city who lost out on last year’s economic impact.

“When we talk about economic impact, it’s just under 23 million dollars. So when you say there is a definite reason to celebrate and support when you see those type of dollars that stay here, it’s a very good cause,” Perren King said.

King also talked about how people are coming back to Birmingham. He says they are seeing improvements downtown, which makes them want to come back again to visit and spend money here.

Tickets to the Magic City Classic are still available. King expects to see up to 65,000 people for the game.

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