Birmingham Scores Big with NCAA Tournament
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (March 27, 2023) – It was a magic week for the Magic City. As host for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Birmingham welcomed eight teams for two days of March Madness, March 16 and 18 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC).
The greater Birmingham area welcomed teams and fans from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Houston, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, Northern Kentucky University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and West Virginia University, putting the Magic City on the national stage.
With sellout crowds of more than 15,000 for Thursday and Saturday’s sessions, the NCAA Tournament generated $10.3 million in economic impact for greater Birmingham and delivered more than 12,000 hotel room nights downtown, representing 85% hotel occupancy on Thursday-Saturday. Hotel occupancy for the entire week was up 13% as compared to last year.
“There’s no better way to kick off March Madness than in your own city,” said John Oros, president & CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The energy and excitement was palpable across the city, and the impact for greater Birmingham was significant, especially since this was a multiple-night event.”
This marked the first year that Birmingham hosted the NCAA Men’s Tournament since 2008 – and will hopefully be the first of many in the future, thanks to the recent $125 million renovation to Legacy Arena and the community’s ability to deliver an exceptional experience for the teams and fans. Looking ahead, greater Birmingham will also host the NCAA Women’s Basketball Southern Regional in 2025.
The success of the NCAA Tournament further emphasizes greater Birmingham’s growing reputation as a sports destination. Recently, the Sports Business Journal included the Magic City on its list of the Top 50 Cities for Sports Business in the U.S. Birmingham was the only city in Alabama on the list, and just one of seven cities included that does not have a professional sports franchise from the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLS.
“To be a great sports destination, you need to have first class sports facilities and the Birmingham and Hoover, Alabama area has them in abundance,” Oros said. “The Birmingham region boasts some of the finest youth, collegiate, amateur and professional sports events and teams in the country, with an impressive resume that includes the recent NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the USFL, National Senior Games, Bassmaster Classic, The World Games 2022, 2024 Transplant Games of America, 2025 World Police and Fire Games, SEC Baseball Tournament, NCAA D3 Indoor Track and Field Championships and the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.”
The Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) is the official tourism and marketing organization for Birmingham and Jefferson County. Established in 1969, the non-profit agency generates positive economic impact by positioning the greater Birmingham area as a premier destination for conventions, sporting events, and domestic and international leisure travel. Named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s “22 Best Places to Go in 2022,” Birmingham and its neighboring municipalities welcome more than 3.6 million visitors each year, generating $2.2 billion in economic impact. Learn more at birminghamal.org.
• WBRC: Estimates show March Madness poured $10 million into the Magic City
• Birmingham Business Journal: NCAA impact filters through Birmingham districts