Tuscaloosa mayor: No Alabama football in 2020 means economic losses so massive they sound like a joke

Walt Maddox predicts revenue losses in the billions if the Crimson Tide don’t play this fall.

Alabama Crimson Tide football players don’t get paid to play. As teeth-gnashing as it may be, this is a well-known, beginner-level fact. Juxtaposed with just how much revenue is produced in and around Alabama football both inside the program and in the surrounding community, however, any flaccid, disingenuous arguments against player pay suddenly disappear. Look no further than the latest statement from Walt Maddox, the mayor of the Tide’s hometown of Tuscaloosa.

To hear him tell it, if COVID-19 prevents an Alabama football season in 2020, the resulting economic losses for the city could add up to $2 billion(!).

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says a lack of Alabama Crimson Tide football in 2020 could literally mean billions in lost revenue.

“It would be economically catastrophic for Tuscaloosa if there is no football season. Even a mitigated football season with restricted attendance and number of ball games would have dire economic consequences,” Maddox said via WIAT-TV in Birmingham.

This is not a controversial statement for anyone to make. However, we’ll set aside that $2 billion number, which feels like it may as well have come out of a science fiction novel.

Tuscaloosa is a college town, folks. Its population is just a hair above 100,000, and the University of Alabama is the largest employer in the city and its surrounding community by a significant margin. Major football programs can easily generate over $100 million in revenue in a given year by themselves, and every home game is a huge boon to the local infrastructure, from restaurants to bars to hotels and beyond. It’s disheartening to think that a city could fall into economic ruin thanks to one missed or truncated football season.

They say that in the SEC, it just means more. What does that mean if the SEC is taken away for a year?

Count Walt Maddox among those who have zero interest in finding out.