NCAA college basketball tourneys returning to Birmingham

NCAA college basketball tourneys returning to Birmingham
(Source: Josh Auzenne/WAFB-TV)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The NCAA college men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are coming back to Birmingham.

The men’s NCAA tourney was last played in the Magic City in 2008. This is the first time the women’s tournament will be played in Birmingham.

According to a news release by the NCAA, the 1st and 2nd rounds of the college men’s tourney will be played at Legacy Arena in 2023.

The women’s championship regionals will be held at Legacy Arena in 2025.

The NCAA’s announcement today 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.

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.

For only the third time in its history, the NCAA undertook a site selection process where most of its championships were put out for bid at the same time.

The result: The Association made more than 450 selections of host sites for preliminary rounds and final sites of predetermined championships in Divisions I, II and III, with most to be held from 2022-23 through 2025-26.

The NCAA received more than 3,000 bid submissions from NCAA member schools, conferences, sports commissions and cities vying to host predetermined rounds for 86 of the NCAA’s 90 championships. The sites were selected by the respective NCAA sports committees and approved by the divisional competition oversight and championships committees.

Click here to see the future NCAA host site selections through 2026.

The NCAA has also awarded four championships to the Birmingham CrossPlex for the 2023 - 2026 seasons.

The City of Birmingham and Birmingham Southern College will host the following championships:

  • 2023 Division III Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship
  • 2026 Division III Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship

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