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Residents Look Forward to Hosting March Madness in the Magic City

By Alexis Lundy

©Alabama News Center.

Ongoing renovations of the BJCC in anticipation for the 2023 March Madness will improve the city’s nightlife and benefit the city financially, according to some residents.

“Even though the games are in a couple years, the city will benefit from it now, said Mya Phillips, a local event planner. “We get bookings for big events like that now, so everything can be set before the games begin.” 

The finalist games are set to be played at the newly renovated BJCC. The NCAA’s announcement makes for the first time the women’s tournament will be played in the city of Birmingham.

As for the men’s tournament, the city has not hosted a series since 2008. 

Since Mayor Randall Woodfin’s election, he has tried to do things “The Woodfin Way”. A plan he created, and claims will put the people of Birmingham first.

“This is a perfect example of cooperation between public and private partners to elevate Birmingham’s position as a great place to host world class events like March Madness,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin. 

“For too long, we’ve had to watch other southeastern cities host the men’s and women’s Division I tournaments. With the renovation and expansion of the BJCC, we are firmly back in the game and committed to competing for top tier sporting and entertainment events.” 

According to the NCAA, the men’s tournament will take place in 2023 and the Legacy Arena will host the women’s tournament in 2025. 

“I plan on watching the games in person when they come to town,” said Joshua Gourdine, a NCAA basketball fan. “I have been watching them on tv since I was a kid and since they’re coming to my hometown I have to go. No matter who’s playing.”

The BJCC’s Legacy Arena closed last April for a $123 million renovation and expansion, according to WBRC. Construction crews have been working every day since to complete the renovations by the deadline. The newly renovated arena will hopefully create a memorable event experience for the teams, sponsors and fans who will attend. The improvements focus on fan experience offering better seating options, improved food and beverage options as well as new team and artist areas. 

“When the BJCC is finished it will be the finishing touch to the downtown area,” said Kasey Walker, a Birmingham native. “Now, after events at the arena everyone can hop over to Uptown for food and drinks.” 

The arena is expected to open in 2022, but the ongoing construction can be seen daily. Event tickets can be bought in advance on Stub Hub.

Edited by Alivia Moore, Ryan Michaels, & John H. Glenn

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham