Birmingham City Council votes to bring in USFL

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 12:09 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The effort to bring the USFL to Birmingham now rests with the Jefferson County Commission after the city of Birmingham approved its portion of the package Tuesday. The council voted to direct $500,000 toward the $3,000,000 package for the league’s first year of operation with the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau providing $2,000,000 and the county expected to add the remaining $500,000 when they meet Thursday morning.

Councilor Crystal Smitherman, who chairs the council’s Budget and Finance committee says FOX Sports has committed to picking up the cost of operating the league and is projecting up to 40 million viewers will watch the games being played at the brand new Protective Stadium or Legion Field. “I think this is just a great exposure,” says Smitherman, explaining why she voted to support the project. “We don’t owe FOX Sports, any money. I think that’s really significant because usually we have to pay the leagues money to come here, but they’re really having a vested interest in this is something that’s important. They’re going to start the process of getting the players together, securing the coaches and then get the ball rolling from there.”

Smitherman FOX Sports personalities and officials have suggested they’d like to get involved the community in a way that also benefits the area’s youth. “They actually are having internships for kids in the broadcasting area and Reggie Bush had talked about doing community service for the kids. The players also would be doing training camps with the youth whenever they have time to do that,” says Smitherman.

The next step in the process would be for the Jefferson County Commission to vote on the county’s proposed support for the league when it meets on Thursday. A source close to the negotiations tells WBRC that the head of FOX Sports is expected to be in Birmingham for a formal announcement the week of November 15, 2021.


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