Iron Bowl change could have economic impact

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Southeastern Conference announcement last Tuesday that the Iron Bowl’s two-year stint on Black Friday is over could be a boon to local retailers this holiday season.

The clash between the Tide and Tigers moves back to Saturday and will be replaced with traditional rivals LSU and Arkansas for the next two years.

“This is very good news for regional businesses as Black Friday is one of the three busiest days of the year for retailers,” said Dr. Russ Henley, Associate Professor of Marketing in the College of Business Administration at the University of West Alabama. “The Iron Bowl supersedes, for most Alabamians, any Christmas shopping for that day.”

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Moving the game back to Saturday, Henley said, was a best case scenario for the schools, the state and merchants.

“As far as retailers are concerned this is a win-win situation,” he said. “Alabamians can know enjoy the great deals available on Black Friday and still be able to watch one of the most contentious and exciting college football games of the year.”

Aside from the the return of shoppers to the store, Henley said it was also important to weigh the Iron Bowl’s contributions to the state.

“The Iron Bowl itself is a huge boost to the Alabama economy,” he said. “Although I feel certain that there are many fans who prefer the game be played on Friday, it is a better situation, strictly in economic terms, for all Alabamians, Auburn and Alabama fans included, to separate these two major events.”

The “Battle for the Golden Boot” – the name for LSU’s annual clash with Arkansas – held the Black Friday spot for 13 consecutive seasons from 1996 to 2008 before being replaced with the Iron Bowl in 2009.