The state of Alabama was blessed with another NCAA Men’s Football National Championship this week as the Crimson Tide won in overtime versus the Georgia Bulldogs. There are few things in Alabama as important as our football, maybe something like: Faith, Family, and Football. Admittedly sometimes we get those priorities out of order.
The state of Alabama has two major college football programs, and several very good smaller schools. The University of Alabama is on the west side of the state in Tuscaloosa, and Auburn University is on the east side of the state in Auburn. Each child born here must decide whom they will pull for from birth, and it is stamped on their birth certificate below their tiny footprints. (That last sentence was hyperbole.)
Our state not only has a football heritage, but we also have a strong connection to rural life, farming, hunting, fishing, and all manner of outdoor recreation. As with all passions in life, people here enjoy mixing their recreation. The better one of our football teams does, the greater the demand we see for people wanting to buy acreage or farms for sale within an hour of their respective stadium. Over the past decade as Alabama’s program progressed, since Nick Saban arrived as coach at the University of Alabama, the more calls I have seen for farms close to the stadium. We call them “Gameday Farms”. People are looking for land within 45 minutes to an hour drive of Bryant-Denny Stadium, where they can come up on Friday and hunt, go to the game on Saturday, then come back to the farm and hunt Sunday before kicking off their work week.
Auburn University is very much the same way. Auburn is the main Land Grant Institution in our state, and naturally has more of a focus on farming and rural life. Auburn fans love to own farms in Macon, Lee, Tallapoosa, and other surrounding counties that offer a convenient ride into Jordan-Hare Stadium. Alabama fans key on counties close to Tuscaloosa, like: Hale, Greene, Pickens, Sumter, and Bibb.
For land brokers in our area, it is important to understand the culture of the land buyers and what they are looking for in these farms. Many of them want a place where they can bring an RV and have a hook-up, or they want to build a cabin. Through the years, I have sold properties like this to people who were either diehard Alabama fans or even vendors who specialize in selling at Alabama games. Part of their livelihood depends on selling apparel, or setting up tents for tailgating, or security, or other cottage industries related to Alabama football.
It is interesting how our land market is connected to the passion for football in our state. I attended the University of West Alabama, so I am not an alumni of either of the large schools. That mere fact has allowed me to escape the dangerous question “Who do you pull for, Alabama or Auburn?” for many years. If your football allegiance is for the “wrong” team, you can absolutely lose a potential customer.
That there is a strong connection between real estate markets and universities is no surprise. That people want to locate their hunting land within an easy drive of their shrine, er stadium, is an interesting connection. The state of Alabama has been blessed with 6 national championships in the past 10 years. We hope this tradition continues for the sake of our football fans, and because it is good for the land business.
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