Press Conference raises the stakes for 77th Magic City Classic

McDonald's brought 50 students from each university and awarding one student a $10,000 scholarship


For Alabama State University (ASU) and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU), when it comes to football, it’s all about the Magic City Classic. Entering its 77th year of existence, the Magic City Classic has signified years of competitiveness and sportsmanship between the two largest historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the state of Alabama. Known for more than just a football game, the Magic City Classic brings a week full of events to the city of Birmingham, Ala. To begin the festivities, the title sponsors for the event McDonald’s and Coca Cola, hosted a press conference at the Coca Cola plant in Birmingham, Ala. on Oct 24th.

“The Magic City Classic is Birmingham … the spirit of competition celebration of historically black colleges and universities. The music, the food, the parties, the experience of a Magic City Classic, is the fabric of our entire community. We wouldn’t have continued this grand tradition now as it celebrates in 77th year, without the support and education of the faces I see this morning,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, praising the dedication and commitment of each of the sponsors who makes the Magic City Classic happen.

Generating over $22 million  in economic impact for the city of Birmingham, Ala, the Magic City Classic has been called “the most exciting week of the year in the city” by Woodfin.  Each university receives $212,500 from the event, which is the way each sponsor “makes sure their dollars are speaking for this event” according to Perry King, executive director of McDonald’s Magic City Classic presented by Coca Cola. Adding to increased sponsorship, Amazon has now joined the list of international companies involved with this event acting as this year’s presenting partner of the Classic Kick-Off on Thursday, Oct 25th at the Harbert Center.

“As a brand McDonald’s has a long standing commitment to supporting educational empowerment and one of the ways we do that is to be true to the HBCU platform. And that is a platform that celebrates and recognizes the history, the legacy, the heritage of classics across the country. But none of those classics are more significant than this, the Magic City Classic,” said former Chairman of the Alabama State University Board of Trustees Larry Thornton, an ASU alumnus representing local McDonald’s operators in Birmingham, Ala and McDonald’s USA.

For the first time, McDonald’s brought out 100 students, 50 from each unierivery to come together during the halftime show to celebrate the theme of HBCUNION. They are also, awarding 10,000 dollars in scholarships money to a student during the game on Saturday Oct 27th.

“There is no event more important than the Magic City Classic. Magic City Classic and Coca Cola have a long history. We have been involved for over a decade but I am pleased to announce that we have just extended our agreement for another four great years,” said John Sherman president and CEO of Coca Cola in Birmingham, Ala expressing the importance of the relationship between Coke United and the Magic City Classic.

Head coach of Alabama State University Donald Hill-Eley and Alabama A&M Connell Maynor despite having practice after the press conference gave a few remarks thanking the sponsors for having them, allowing them to give their students the same experiences they could have had at predominately white institutions, and the importance of winning the classic to the alumni of each of their respective universities.

Adding onto the festivities for the weekend, there will be a parade held on Oct 27th before the game. Over 100,000 people are show up every year rain or shine. It is also broadcasted statewide. This year, the ambassador and parade grand Marshall is actor, writer, and producer Don Cheadle. For the younger generation, the post game concert performer is Birmingham, Ala native Gucci Mane.