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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) — NCAA basketball is returning to the Magic City.

Birmingham will host the first and second round of the NCAA Tournament for Division I men’s basketball in 2023 and the Division I women’s basketball southern regional in 2025 at the newly renovated BJCC.

The NCAA’s announcement Wednesday marks the first time for the NCAA Tournament in Birmingham since 2008 for men’s basketball. It will be the first time ever for the women’s tournament to come to Birmingham.

The decision to return March Madness to Birmingham follows a collaborative effort by the city of Birmingham, BJCC, Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, Knight Eady and the Southeastern Conference.

“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,” Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said. “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.”

"The comprehensive renovation and expansion of Legacy Arena makes Birmingham the ideal home to once again host NCAA tournament basketball," said Tad Snider, Executive Director and CEO, BJCC Authority. "The improvements focus on fan experience, premium seating options, improved food and beverage options as well as new team and artist areas, with back-of-house operational improvements to support our event partners. Fans will watch the games from upgraded seats, modern hospitality suites, and club areas with views to the event floor and the teams will enjoy locker and coaches rooms on par with any other venue in the country. We look forward to hosting the NCAA in Alabama’s largest and newly renovated Legacy Arena.”

The BJCC’s Legacy Arena closed in April for a $123 million renovation and expansion. It is expected to reopen in 2022.

"Bringing NCAA Division I men’s and women’s basketball to Birmingham has been part of Knight Eady’s vision since we started the company,” said David Knight, President of Operations for Knight Eady. “Our team is thrilled to work alongside our team of partners in Birmingham to host two of the NCAA’s most prestigious tournaments. We look forward to working together to create an exceptional event experience for the teams, sponsors and fans who will visit our great city."

“It’s our pleasure to welcome these great NCAA events back to Birmingham,” John Oros, Jr., president and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, said. “While we can’t predict an economic impact that far in the future, we do know that historically these events generate millions of dollars for the local economy. Of course, that impact also will depend on the teams we draw. In addition to direct economic impact, we will have the added benefit for the newly renovated Legacy Arena through TV exposure. We’ve long enjoyed our relationship with the NCAA and look forward to continuing that alliance in the coming years.”

A bid for an NCAA tournament requires a member institution or conference to serve as host. The Southeastern Conference, headquartered in Birmingham, will serve in that role.

“The Southeastern Conference is proud to serve as the host and join in the collaborative effort that will bring the NCAA Basketball Tournament to Birmingham,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “March is annually one of the most exciting months on the college sports calendar, and Birmingham will be in the nation’s focus in 2023 and 2025. Our thanks to the City of Birmingham, the BJCC, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau and Knight Eady for joining the SEC in this successful effort.”
 

TerryP

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Watching March Madness I've always been fascinated seeing teams from Tobacco Road getting first round games in Greenville. While it tends to be #1 vs #16, or #2 vs #15 games I'll admit being a little jealous of Duke and UNC fans.

I don't like the word resurgence when discussing the future under Oats. It's my opinion we're about to see the program reach heights never before seen in Tuscaloosa.

How sweet would it be to see the Tide playing in Birmingham in, at worst, a #2 vs #15 seeding type of game. I'll have to be honest...it would be a "take my money now" decision to attend.
 

TerryP

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Add baseball to that with me. I can't say "more excited," but definitely looking forward to this season.

BBall media days are today...should have some good interviews. I've seen a few comments from Herb already today talking about how much his jumper has improved...and they're talking about defense!
 

mando

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I also want to see it play out on the court. Certainly a lot of buzz and looks like great talent. If he has this type of success I would wonder if we would be able to keep him before we reach those levels.
 

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