BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The new and improved Legacy Arena opened its doors to the public for the first time Sunday after months of renovations.
Fans flocked to the arena to see the Birmingham Squadron play their first game against Mexico City and to get an inside look at the new upgrades.
“Innovation is always good, I can think about driving past the Legacy Center and seeing like the new things that are being done with the windows and the renovations and everything, so it’s very exciting,” said visitor Terrance Slaughter.
Slaughter has grown up coming to events at the arena. He says the improvements are a great long-term investment for the city.
“I can recall a time when I was growing up and I went to a WWE match versus now, you know, and it is always dope to have something where you can say let’s do this, let’s do that,” said Slaughter.
“Overall, the activity that’s in the arena especially coming out of the pandemic and having these large-scale events again it’s exciting,” said BJCC Executive Director Tad Snider.
The complete modernization of the 50-year-old building came with a price tag of around $125 million. Leaders tell us the focus was to create a modernized entertainment experience for fans.
“But people want to move around, they don’t want to be tied to a seat the whole time, we have a new upper-level club that was added, we have the existing arena club that was added. We have more premium comfortable seats closer to the floor, so you do all those things to try to respond to what people expect today,” said Snider.
Snider says the investment in the renovated arena will be a driving force for economic growth as well as tourism for years to come.
“So, to be able to position and make the building available for the next 30-40 years, kind of evidence already that we were awarded the NCAA basketball tournament even before we started shoveling the dirt,” said Snider.
“It’s always invigorating to see something new and thriving and just pushing the city together and forward,” said Slaughter.
Upcoming events at the BJCC:
Birmingham Squadron games – December through March
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – December 15
UAB vs West Virginia – December 18
University of Alabama vs CO State – December 21
Reba McEntire – February 24, 2022
Billie Eilish concert – March 8, 2022
World Games dancesport & gymnastics – July 2022
NCAA men’s basketball rounds 1 & 2 – 2023
NCAA women’s basketball sweet 16 & elite 8 – 2025