The impact of March Madness and when it may return to the Magic City

The future of March Madness in Birmingham
The future of March Madness in Birmingham
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 1:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You may finally be able to catch your breath when it comes to March Madness. The games won’t resume until Thursday and while you look over your bracket and checking your scores, city leaders are checking to see how much we scored during the first and second rounds.

City Councilman Hunter Williams says the expectation is somewhere between six and 10 million dollars, but city leaders stress that March Madness’s impact goes far beyond the dollar amount.

The question becomes, of all the thousands who traveled to the Magic City for the games, how many will return?

Did the city do enough to convince the families to book another trip in the years ahead?

All questions we will learn the answers to in the following years but as far as data collection that is still under way.

A Rev Birmingham Official says their first data set with attendance and impact estimates will be ready on Thursday. One city leader stresses it will take at least a month before we know just how successful the tourney was.

While the data is out, the BJCC’s Executive Director tells WBRC feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and they will begin looking into creating future bids later this year to bring the tourney back to Birmingham.

Unfortunately, the preliminary rounds are booked out through 2026.

So we could be looking at a three to five year wait for the games return. However that is still significantly shorter than the length of the wait between the last two tourney trips to the Magic City. Birmingham waited about 15 years for March Madness to return last week.

That long wait, of course, is a result of much needed arena renovations. Now with the arena a proven host site, BJCC Executive Director Tad Snider tells WBRC that based on the success of this year, it won’t be 15 years again.

As for what the committee deems important when picking sites they consider everything from the facility to the city’s infrastructure.

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