BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s an exciting week for Blazers fans. We’re less than a week away from the home opener for UAB football inside the new Protective Stadium where they will take on Liberty University.

After years of discussions, planning and construction, Protective Stadium’s gates will open for the first time.

“I’m excited about just getting inside the stadium, seeing it you know. Again, I think this is something that Birmingham has needed for many years and it’s finally here,” said Mark Hyde, a UAB football fan.

Hyde says he’s eager for UAB’s football home opener. He has his tickets, parking pass and Blazer gear ready to go.

“Yes, we will be tailgating, and we love our seats. We got the padded seats with the armrests. So just excited about everything,” said Hyde.

On game day, fans can expect parking and tailgating areas to open six hours before kick-off.

“We’re going to do student tailgating just down here to the west in front of the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex. Blazer Village is going to be just behind us in uptown. There will be additional tailgating on a rooftop of a parking deck on 22nd street,” said Tad Snider, the BJCC CEO and Executive Director.

Snider says the BJCC has been working with the city of Birmingham’s Traffic and Engineering Department to navigate the parking plans on game day.

“We are running shuttles from UAB campus and we’re running a private shuttle to the Birmingham Authority parking decks. So between all those different layers those who use the transit authority and public buses will have a drop-off just south of the stadium,” said Snider.

Saturday’s home opener is just one of the five home games this season being held at Protective Stadium. Fans will be back on October 9 where UAB will take on Florida Atlantic.

“So I’m looking forward to seeing a packed-out stadium, I hope that’s the case,” said Hyde.

All stadium gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Click here for UAB Blazer football tickets.