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Alabama football is big biz

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By Paul Richardson

Football in the South isn’t just a sport, it’s part of the culture instilled at birth. With the start of the college football season right around the corner, fans are gearing up.

The return of college football is a time of year most people in Alabama live for. No matter how your team does on the gridiron this season one thing is certain: the state will come out with a win.

“People come from all over the Southeast and all over the nation into our state every year just because of football,” said Brian Jones with the Alabama Tourism Department.

Alabama has a big appeal because there is not only the University of Alabama and Auburn University, but a number of other universities in different conferences who have fans ready to spend their money.

While it is estimated travelers spent more than $13.3 billion last year in our state, the exact economic impact of college football statewide is unknown.

The most recent study dates back nearly 5 years ago when state economists estimated between UA and AU the economic impact was somewhere near the $500 million mark.

“It is really tough to take and come up with one number. The impact is huge. To some degree in Auburn, officials say it is triple what a normal weekend would be throughout the year.

The official start of the College Football Season is Aug. 26.