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Birmingham City Council, Jefferson County Commission could set aside $1 million for USFL

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:15 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More money could soon come in to bring a national spring football league to play all of its games in Birmingham.

As it stands now, a majority of the Birmingham City Council plans to recommend allocating up to $500,000 to help make the USFL in Birmingham a reality, according to City Councilor Hunter Williams. Williams tells us the funding will come through the city’s hotel surcharge that is earmarked for sports and tourism.

“I feel very, very comfortable that we will see football at Protective Stadium next spring,” Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens said.

The Jefferson County Commission could match the funds, but all of this still has to be voted on next week by local leaders. Stephens says having an entire league to set up shop in Birmingham is a win for the region.

“It puts heads in the beds and butts in the seats. That’s something that we want to do. We want to show people that Birmingham is a vital metropolitan area and moving forward that we offer the best to the people who come to visit,” Stephens said.

The Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is also planning to help get the USFL to Birmingham by putting up to $2 million to help cover the estimated $3.7 million needed to cover operational costs of the league.

“It’s national exposure for Birmingham and Jefferson County for our sports facilities. We are going to have people in Uptown. It’s going to be a great opportunity for local residents to come out into the spring,” John Oros, CEO, of the Greater Birmingham Visitors and Convention Bureau said.

Here’s Councilor Williams’ full statement to WBRC:

“Sports and other tourism are an important part of economic development for Birmingham and Jefferson County. They create jobs and have a positive impact on our hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and many other businesses throughout the area. When we did our part as a city to help fund the construction of Protective Stadium and the renovation of Legacy Arena, we put in place a neighborhood revitalization fund so that taxes generated from the BJCC would go toward repaving streets, removing blight and funding other important needs in all 99 neighborhoods. In recent weeks we have been presented with the opportunity to work with Fox Sports to bring Spring football to Birmingham.

This proposal is far different from the previous efforts to create a viable new football league. For the first time, this effort has the support of the NFL, Fox Sports and NBC, with all games and operations for the first season to occur in Birmingham. Our city and our region will benefit from the tremendous economic impact, as well as exposure around the world from this effort. After talking with the administration and a majority of the city council, we plan to recommend and approve the city of Birmingham to allocate up to $500,000 to help make this exciting opportunity a reality.

This funding will be made possible through Birmingham’s hotel surcharge that is earmarked for sports and tourism and will be matched from our partners at the Jefferson County Commission. Birmingham is on the move. Our investments in quality facilities are already paying off. We look forward to continuing to grow our city and our region through sporting events and tourism which will grow our economy and provide quality venues and entertainment for our citizens.”

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