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Thousands of UAB football fans experience first game at Protective Stadium

Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2021 at 10:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Fans experienced a different kind of home game for UAB football when the Blazers played for the first time in the brand-new Protective Stadium.

“I love what UAB means to this city,” fan James Fuller said. “This is the heart and soul right here. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now.”

Thousands of fans enjoyed the new Blazer Village and Blazer Walk on Saturday, October 2nd.

“This is awesome,” fan Khori Oden said. “It’s a long time coming.”

“I think it is an excellent location,” fan Destiny Hinton said. “Especially being located right next to Uptown, I think it was a good idea.”

With 45,000 seats inside the stadium, parking was a concern for city leaders. Some fans said they struggled to find spots.

“We have friends trying to find parking and they are like ten blocks that way, so I think that is the only thing,” UAB student Houston South said.

Other fans said getting in early or taking the student shuttle makes parking easier.

“The shuttle was great,” UAB student Malik Swain said. “There wasn’t a lot of people on there actually.”

Ticket and security lines moved quick as fans funneled inside to find their seats. With 340 beer taps inside, fans said the long lines at concessions are worth it.

“I had no issues at all,” UAB alum Elizabeth Bradley said. “It’s been smooth sailing. It’s really great.”

One fan said he thinks the new stadium will help boost Birmingham’s economy.

“We stayed at a hotel very close to here, about three blocks away and they are all sold out,” fan James Fuller said. “I would be surprised if there is food left at the end of the day at any of these businesses right here.”

It’s a new stadium that Blazer fans can call home.

“Having our name on everything, I really feel like this is our stadium and not just like a loner from the city,” Bradley said.

Some fans wore masks at the event, but some didn’t.

City leaders said the new stadium is going to be used for events besides UAB games. It is set for the Super 7 State Championships, a bowl game, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the World Games next year.

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