- Associated Press - Sunday, December 3, 2017

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - College football in Alabama has helped residents earn more than $1.1 million over the past two seasons through a popular online hospitality service.

Airbnb said host earnings related to the Alabama and Auburn football seasons increased more than 80 percent in 2017 over last year, Al.com reports . The company allows property owners and lodging seekers to book short-term rentals online.

The company tracked traffic related to football games in Tuscaloosa and Auburn.

“In addition to being leading academic institutions, the University of Alabama and Auburn University sports programs are a huge tourism draw and economic boost for Tuscaloosa and Auburn residents and businesses,” said Will Burns, Airbnb’s public policy director for Alabama.

Burns said the extra money coming in through the service benefited families and property owners while providing an affordable way for fans to attend games.

A total of 7,190 Airbnb guest bookings occurred during Alabama and Auburn home games this season. Auburn experienced the largest growth in Airbnb bookings, with traffic up 102 percent.

Tuscaloosa increased 64 percent. The city approved a slate of regulations related to short-term rentals earlier this year.

The two cities earned $726,000 during the 2017 football season.

The highest guest arrivals occurred during rivalry games including Alabama’s Nov. 4th game against LSU.

Last year, more than 1,200 residents of Alabama who hosted through Airbnb made a total of $7 million. The average host was 40, with the typical hosts earning $4,300 sharing their home 25 nights or less annually.

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