Jefferson Co. Commission considering what level of funding to give Magic City Classic organizers

Magic City Classic conflict
Magic City Classic conflict
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 8:59 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Could you soon be forced to say goodbye to the Magic City Classic in Birmingham?

The game has become an institution in the Iron City and has been played here for over 80 years now.

However, we learned at Tuesday’s Jefferson County Commission meeting that funding could now be a problem.

The disagreement wasn’t based on whether or not to provide funding for the Classic, but how much and for how long. Commissioner Lashunda Scales adamantly campaigning for a $750,000 multi-year agreement, stressing that if the university’s financial desires are not met, they may move the game.

“Let me be clear, there has not been a contract signed between the universities, Alabama Sports Council, neither with the city or the county, so therefor we may be at risk of losing this game if we do not treat it with the kind of economic support that it requires,” said Commissioner Scales.

After a long and at times heated debate the commission agreed to consider providing the Alabama Sports Council with $500,000 to help put on the Classic this year. However with less funding, the risk of a budget shortfall increases.

“We can certainly work with the one year commitment of $500,000 for one year but it brings it to question how long we can kind of contract with the schools for,” said Gene Hallman with the Alabama Sports Council.

School leaders appear to be walking away disappointed at the moment, saying this directly impacts the game’s ability to bring in revenue.

“I am a little disappointed that first the amount was reduced and that the term especially was reduced down to one year because we were trying to do a multi-year agreement because that is what it takes to secure sponsorships across the board and try to maximize where we are economically,” said Special Assistant to the President for Alabama A&M University Jackie Robinson.

This issue will appear again before the council on Thursday. I plan on being at the meeting and will update you Thursday on just how much money the commission will be giving and for how long.

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