BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham leaders are working to build the city’s reputation as a sports destination, and their relationship with the National Football League is a big part of that, city council president William Parker said.

The city has existing partnerships with the league, and leaders hope those will lead to more opportunities in the future.

“In strategy of really being known around the United States and around the world as a sports destination city, it’s important to have the NFL as a great partner,” Parker said.

The NFL partnered with the Magic City Classic in 2019. During the contest, the league recognized players from Alabama A&M and Alabama State who had played in the NFL. It was one of several NFL events surrounding the game.

Parker said he anticipates “a continued relationship in some form” going forward. Right now, city leaders are planning the upcoming Magic City Classic, which will be played April 17. It was moved from its traditional fall date when the Southwestern Athletic Conference decided to postpone its 2020 football season.

The city also will work with the NFL during the World Games, which will be played in Birmingham in July 2022. The NFL is the presenting sponsor for the event’s flag football tournament, which will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams from around the world. Parker said it’s a big deal to have flag football at the World Games in Birmingham, especially with the NFL’s involvement.

“I think it just identifies the fact that the city of Birmingham is truly the football capital of the South, and no greater place to have the World Games of flag football being hosted at Legion Field,” Parker said. “So we’re excited and looking forward to our great partnership as we move forward.”

In the meantime, Parker said the city plans to keep building strong ties with the league.

“We’re just going to continue to develop the relationship, continue to grow our partnership as we move forward,” he said. “And I just tell everyone to stay tuned as we move forward to the upcoming years.”