Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

New sports-related resort coming to Tuscaloosa

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
A rendering of the new Sports Illustrated Resort slated to be built in Tuscaloosa.

Sports Illustrated and Travel + Leisure have joined forces to start a chain of sport-themed resorts in college towns and decided that Tuscaloosa will be their starting point.  

 News of the resort, which is planned to be built in 2025, was met by differing reactions from the student body and Tuscaloosa community. 

   “It’s a mixed-use development: It’s condos, it’s a hotel, it’s dining, it’s restaurants, which is on the forefront of where most new venues and new athletic venues are going,” Carla Blakey, the undergraduate program coordinator of sport management, said. 

 According to the Travel + Leisure website, many of the resort’s features, including the vacation ownership clubs, were designed based on previous Sports Illustrated content. 

 A variety of entertainment options will be available to Tuscaloosans, such as a fitness center, an indoor area for concerts and parties, an upscale club ideal for alumni gatherings, and a spa. 

 A Hall of Champions will also be included in the resort, commemorating the legacy and heritage of local leaders and legends through an integration of iconic Sports Illustrated content, according to Steven Goldsmith, a spokesperson for Travel + Leisure. 

 “The Sports Illustrated brand will drive engagement and interest with loyal sports travelers looking to have a long-term relationship with their teams and communities,” Goldsmith said. “This resort is going to make Tuscaloosa an even more desirable destination.” 

 According to Kimberly Severt, the director of the UA hospitality and sport management programs, experiences have been shown to drive purchasing behaviors, and this resort wants to capitalize on sporting experiences.  

 “If people are coming here for game day, having another immersive experience only adds to that overall experience,” Blakey said. “If anything, when you look at the college fanbase, it’s unique. There’s just a different level of passion when it comes to college fans.” 

 Tuscaloosa is able to depend on the passion of the Alabama fanbase since, on average, each home football game in 2022 brought in $20 million to $25 million.   

 Not only is the resort expected to have an economic impact, but some expect it to have an educational one as well. 

 “They’ve reached out to me wanting to get our hospitality students and sport management students,” Severt said. “It’s going to be a great place for our students to do internships.” 

 However, not all students are excited about the new resort. 

 TJ Rodgers, a senior news media major, said the resort will cause more issues for students. 

“You have to think about the students,” Rodgers said. “There’s barely any parking and there’s barely any places to live.” 

Allison Sanchez, a junior news media major, agreed that Tuscaloosa is running out of room.  

“It’s going to be a big new attraction,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to bring a lot more people, and we don’t have space for more.” 

Jacob Pickle, a senior majoring in economics and the president of Crimson Chaos, sees the attraction as a positive. Pickle said the resort has potential to drive interest for Alabama sports like basketball.  

“There’s a lot more traffic, and I think the resort will help with that too,” Pickle said. “I think it’s going to be awesome to have the resort as another way to boost up the city of Tuscaloosa.” 

The resort is planned to be located on Rice Mine Road. At this time the pricing for rooms is unavailable.  

 “It’s only fitting for Sports Illustrated to launch their ‘OnCampus’ resort concept in #Tuscaloosa, home to @AlabamaFTBL and one of the best college game day experiences in the country,” Mayor Walt Maddox wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “I appreciate the work of Councilor Crow and the City team to bring this to life.” 

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