After a 15 year hiatus March Madness returning to Birmingham in 2023

CityWalk BHAM
Legacy Arena.. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Birmingham— The Big Dance is coming back!

After a 15 year hiatus, Birmingham is hosting the first and second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Legacy Arena on March 16 & 18.

Mayor Randall Woodfin directed folks via a tweet this morning to the BJCC webpage about the tournament and ways to secure tickets.

Why So Long?

The last time Birmingham welcomed teams to the tournament was in 2008. Back then, Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals, an upstart Butler Bulldogs and a 2nd seeded Tennessee Vols team visited the Magic City.

Even though the crowds averaged near capacity during the tourney, according Bhamwiki – the arena was deemed too outdated for a return engagement. 

A $125M Facelift

legacy arena
Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

As we all know Legacy Arena has undergone a $125M transformation over the past two years. Gone is the drab, 1970s-era tan exterior that encompassed the arena. Outside, a tree-lined greenspace entryway, designed by Macknally Land Design,  welcomes visitors to the arena. And, the lobby’s massive glass facade beaming in natural light is now a fan favorite.

The Arena is also home to the Birmingham Squadron, a member of the G League.

More to Come

In addition to the Men’s tournament , the NCAA Women’s Southern Regional is slated for Legacy Arena in March 2025.

“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,” said Mayor Randall L. Woodfin at the 2020 announcement of the two tournaments coming to the Magic City.

Are you going to reserve your seat for the big tournament? Tell us your favorite memory at The BJCC.

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2009