TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — College football season is back. Hundreds of thousands of people will be making their way to Alabama, supporting their teams and the towns in between.
Tourism officials said the season makes a significant impact statewide to help these college towns grow during the fall months and beyond.
On Thursday, fans as far as California set up camp at Coaches Corner RV Park in Tuscaloosa while patronizing businesses in the city.
“If you’re going to tailgate you gotta get here early,” Sherman Hargrove from Ardmore said.
Hargrove and Tommy Davis from Madison made a trek from North Alabama two days early to secure their spot.
“As long as I can afford to do it and I’m in good enough health, I’m going to keep on doing it,” Hargrove said.
Governor Kay Ivey announced Thursday that Friday is College Colors Day, promoting the state’s 14 universities by wearing your team’s colors.
“Athletics are way for all of us to find commonality, and after all, nothing brings folks together like a Saturday down south,” Ivey said.
It’s a coming together that gives back big to the City of Tuscaloosa. Visit Tuscaloosa President and CEO Kelsey Rush said football season is the peak time for the community.
“There’s just this different energy during the fall time in Tuscaloosa because of football season,” Rush said.
Rush said visitors staying at hotels, eating at restaurants and shopping local make a big difference.
“It is something we are so grateful that we have seven weekends a year and it is so great to bring that type of awareness to the City of Tuscaloosa.”
Rush is hopeful visitors will experience all that T-Town has to offer. She said data now shows tourism is starting to uptick all year long.
“It doesn’t only impact the city, but it benefits our small businesses, too,” Rush said. “That’s an exciting thing we are experiencing in the community.”
Fans tell CBS 42 they are on board as long as they can be.
“We’re going to do it as long as we can financially take it and physically take it,” Davis said.
Rush said Visit Tuscaloosa anticipates an estimated $200 million economic impact this season. This weekend alone could bring in $10 to $15 million because of the fans that stay in the city after game day and continue to give back to the city.
To find things to do and learn more about Tuscaloosa, use the Visit Tuscaloosa’s website and social media channels.