Tuscaloosa Mayor: Loss of Alabama football season due to COVID-19 could be ‘catastrophic’

Tuscaloosa Mayor: Loss of Alabama football season due to COVID-19 could be ‘catastrophic’
FILE PHOTO - Alabama head coach Nick Saban, center, watches play from the sidelines during the second half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game against Michigan, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (Source: AP Photo/John Raoux, file)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hoped for the best but continued to prepare as questions still linger about whether the University of Alabama will have a football season in 2020.

Mayor Maddox said Tuscaloosa was losing $600,000 a week while Alabama’s campus was closed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and if the football season didn’t happen, it could be financially devastating to the city.

“It’s about a hotel owner being able to pay his or her employees. It’s about a restaurant being able to pay their small business loan . It’s about a family trying to make their mortgage payment. It’s more than just a game,” Mayor Maddox explained.

According to the University of Alabama, the economic impact on the Tuscaloosa metro area was projected at nearly $2 billion for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Football generated $175.5 million of those funds.

Mayor Maddox said the city has $42 million in its reserve account which would sustain Tuscaloosa for one year without football. After that, Maddox said the city would likely look into other forms of funding. But he hopes to avoid all of that.

“It’s important to wear your masks and practice social distancing so we don’t even have to entertain the possibility. If we can regain a football season this becomes a bump in the road. If we lose this football season this becomes a sinkhole,” Maddox advised.

Alabama is still planning to have a football season fall 2020.

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