Here’s a look at the journey of Birmingham’s new downtown stadium
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re days away from ushering in a new era for Birmingham and UAB football with the opening of Protective Stadium.
In December 2018, local and state leaders broke ground on the 45,000 seat stadium. It’s a nearly $200 million multiuse facility in downtown. At the time, Mayor Randall Woodfin said the facility will be transformational in terms of sports as well as economic impact.
“Once the stadium is built, we’re talking about events on top of events, so there will be many opportunities for employment and that’s what this is about, workforce opportunities, employment opportunities, economic development opportunities,” Woodfin said at the time.
The hope for a downtown stadium has been in the works for years, but when UAB football was shut down in 2014 due to budget issues, some thought the idea of a stadium was just a dream. Two years later, after public pressure, UAB football rose from the dead. A year later in 2017, the team made a bowl game. In 2018, it was announced a new stadium is in the works.
“These are the necessary investments you make to get the yield and return you need not only for visitors and tourism but to also support your citizens who live in this city,” Woodfin said.
Fast forward to 2021 to nearly two weeks ago, the sign at Protective Stadium is officially lit up with a who’s who of state and local leaders in attendance.
Mayor Woodfin and others say the economic development the stadium will bring will go beyond the Magic City.
“The future is bright with the impact Protective stadium will have on our state,” Governor Kay Ivey said.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue investing in our community. Birmingham is an incredible city. As the city continues to grow, we look forward to growing with it,” Rich Bielen, Protective President and CEO said.
Protective Stadium will also host events during the 2022 World Games.
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