University of Alabama soccer means more to the city of Tuscaloosa than just bringing notoriety to school and the state with a handful of national championships.
The team also provides significant cash flow and could mean a significant loss if the college football season is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Walt Maddox told reporters in a video conference that not having a season could lead to a loss of income of approximately $ 2 billion.
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“It would be financially catastrophic for Tuscaloosa if there is no soccer season,” Maddox said, according to CBS42. “Even a football season mitigated with restricted attendance and number of ball games would have serious economic consequences.”
Maddox said the city was losing $ 600,000 a week when the campus was closed due to the pandemic.
“It is about the owner of a hotel being able to pay his employees. It’s about a restaurant being able to pay off your small business loan. This is a family trying to make their mortgage payment. It is more than just a game, ”she said, according to WBRC-TV.
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According to economic data from the University of Alabama, the impact at Tuscaloosa was projected at nearly $ 2 billion for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The soccer program generated $ 175.5 million of those funds, including about $ 25 million per game.
Maddox said the city has $ 42 million in reserves for a year if the season is canceled.
“It is important to wear their masks and practice social distancing so that we don’t even have to consider the possibility. If we can get a football season back, this becomes an obstacle along the way. If we lose this football season, this becomes a drain, “he said.
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The soccer team has already started training despite some players testing positive for COVID-19.