TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The SEC Softball Tournament is in full swing this week in Tuscaloosa even though stadium capacity is only at 50%. City Council President Kip Tyner says the tournament is making a big impact on the city economy.
“They are all staying in hotels and eating out and filling up with gas and this is a big week for our economy,” Tyner said.
Some tailgaters were set up in the parking lot outside Rhoads Stadium Thursday morning. Trent Lindaman is a Florida Gator fan. His daughter is on the team and plays first base.
“Softball is competitive inside the stadium but when you get outside the stadium, it’s just a family atmosphere. It’s friends and family, not opponents,” said Lindaman.
Delores Smith is an Alabama Crimson Tide fan and a diehard softball fan.
“It’s great and wonderful to meet people from all over the country, especially softball fans. We love football too. but softball is our favorite sport. We’ve been following Bama softball since the inception of Alabama softball. We wouldn’t miss this for the world and we’ve been planning on this since before COVID,” said Smith.
Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports says that 1200 hotel rooms have been booked this week and more than $3,000,000 will be spent at restaurants, bars, shopping and gas.
Tina Jones says that is good news for Hotel Indigo. She is the Director of sales and catering.
“It’s fantastic because it gives us some great weekday business, it allows us to have more staff members working because we are providing the rooms and breakfast and lunch for the groups, so it brings us revenue,” said Jones.
Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports says there are more than 10,000 softball fans in Tuscaloosa to watch the tournament.