BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT)– On Wednesday the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau made the first financial commitment to host a United States Football League season in the spring of 2022.
The board of GBCVB agreed to contribute up to $2 million towards the cost of hosting eight teams from the league, but they need other stakeholders in the city to help with the remaining portion of the $3.6 million it will take.
“Our board committed up to $2 million for the expenses that are outlined by the BJCC contingent on our other partner’s local partners putting in their portion,” said Bill Murray, Board Chairman of GBCVB. “This is a huge commitment for our organization- way beyond anything we’ve ever done, but we feel that it’s important for the city,”
The board is hopeful to see a return on the investment with the predicted economic impact of the league expected to bring in over $16 million. But one board member is cautious when it comes to spending on the league.
“I’ve seen a lot of teams come here and fail. I saw the Stallions fail here, and they drew fans galore. So I want to make sure if we invest any money in this game we have a guarantee they will stay here and be here for the long run and not a happy honeymoon then and we go and have a divorce,” said Rep. John Rogers.
Rodgers is referring to the first few seasons of the USFL when Birmingham was home to the Birmingham Stallions in the early 1980s.
“I want it to happen; it would be a good thing for the city of Birmingham, for the county, and the state if it happens. But we have to make sure we’re not throwing good money at bad money,” he explained.
Murray shared what the return of the USFL to Birmingham could mean for the city: “It showcases Protective Stadium, which is a fantastic facility; and it will showcase our city, which continues to be progressive and grow and do great things.”
Both the Birmingham City Council and the Mayor’s Office said that they were not commenting at this time when asked about the possibility of city contributions to the return of the USFL.