How the New BJCC Stadium Will Impact Clutch! and the Sports Landscape in Birmingham
At Clutch!, our mission is to improve gameday experiences for every fan. We have a passion for sports and the way they impact lives, especially in our hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. The announcement of the new BJCC stadium caught our attention, to say the least. That’s why we’ve written up a quick recap for all things concerning the new stadium – what’s the news, why it’s such a big deal and what it could mean for the city of Birmingham. Read more below!
Uptown Birmingham at the BJCC is getting a brand new football stadium. The 55,000 seat stadium is primarily being built for the UAB football team, but will have a large impact on the overall sports landscape in Birmingham. This is big news for our hometown, a city that is constantly changing and developing.
From the start of their first football season in 1991, the UAB Blazers have played at Legion Field. The history of Legion Field has nostalgic value for Birmingham natives, Alabama and Auburn fans alike. After all, the Iron Bowl got its name for being hosted in the Iron City, but the bowl stopped taking place at Legion Field in the late 1990’s. Although Legion Field ranks #23 on the list of largest college football stadiums in capacity, the facility has minimal overhead cover and outdated technology, resulting in a fan experience that leaves something to be desired. After losing their football program for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, UAB is going to host their home football games at the new BJCC stadium. It’s time for a new stadium in Birmingham and the continued revival of the Blazers football team.
Though Alabama and Auburn fans in Birmingham are used to attending games in 100,000+ capacity stadiums, the construction of a 55,000 seat stadium should not be overlooked. The new facility will put UAB Football in similar standing with Arizona, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota and Oklahoma State in terms of stadium capacity. A new stadium could mean new fervor for local college football, not down the highway, but right down the street from Birmingham residents’ homes.
Blazers home football games will not be the only event to be held at the new stadium — the city intends to host many other types of athletic and corporate events there. The goal for the new BJCC stadium is to have everything ready by the 2021 World Games hosted in Birmingham during the middle of July. The stadium is going to cost around $174 million in construction overhead, and the BJCC recently signed a naming rights deal with Protective Life Corporation, estimated to be worth $1 million a year for 15 years. Many significant and local stakeholders are involved:
“The BJCC Authority, Birmingham, Jefferson County, UAB and corporate partners are funding the stadium construction as well as more than $125 million in renovations to Legacy Arena and other improvements at the BJCC.,” Anna Beahm, News Reporter for al.com said in her article last month. “A 3 percent tax on car rentals in Jefferson County will also go toward the project.”
The presence of a new stadium on this scale could mean impact beyond sports and fan experience alone. Mayor Randall Woodfin is hoping the additional tax revenue generated by the stadium and event space will help restore neighborhoods in and around Birmingham. He is estimating the additional revenue will reach $10 million per year to go toward these areas in need of revitalization.
With a new addition to the BJCC, the stadium is estimated to supply the city with many more jobs, similar to how the United Soccer League Birmingham team, Legion FC, supplied jobs to the city, but on a much larger scale. The soccer club saw a sellout crowd in their first home game at BBVA Compass Field downtown. The stadium’s 5,000 seats were completely filled, as 800 additional spectators viewed the game from standing room-only. The establishment of the Legion FC soccer team has given Birmingham residents another local team to support, especially after the Birmingham Iron fell through with the folding of the Alliance of American Football.
The new stadium will transform the growing sports landscape of Birmingham and we at Clutch! plan to play a large role in that transformation as well. We have significantly expanded our reach in our hometown by offering parking solutions to Barons fans, Legion FC fans, runners in local marathons and other races, and attendees of events at the Alabama and Lyric theaters and Iron City. We are proud to be the official parking partner of the Birmingham Legion FC and we hope to provide parking solutions for all of our local teams in the near future. Lastly, as residents of Birmingham and avid sports fans, we are excited about the positive impact this new development will have on our community.