SEC basketball in Birmingham- why the conference tournament in the Magic City is a very exciting prospect

It is an exciting time for Birmingham sports fans, as a lot of big sporting events are on the horizon. As a part of that, the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex’s Legacy Arena is currently undergoing renovations. Once that process is complete, a new era for the venue will begin as it becomes the home of the still-unnamed NBA G League affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans. It will also be able to serve as a Birmingham sports complement to Protective Stadium, the new host of UAB Blazers football and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2022 World Games. With so many exciting things still to come, it also raises an interesting possibility that the Magic City could be able to host the SEC men’s or women’s basketball tournament at some point in the future. 

The SEC tournament, which was most recently won by the Alabama men and the South Carolina women (and will be contested in Tampa’s Amalie Arena in 2022), is a Nashville event for the foreseeable future. Nashville is also slated to hold the 2022 SEC women’s basketball tournament. After next season’s event, the Music City will host the tournament until at least 2035. While this date is quite far off, it does leave significant time to unpack the many reasons why Birmingham would be a suitable host for the always-exhilarating basketball tournament. 

Birmingham’s newest sporting venues will certainly draw attention from fans in the area and statewide. The renovations at Legacy Arena will certainly mean that the city is more enticing to conference leaders as a potential host. Furthermore, in the interim between now and over a decade in the future, they will have ample time to determine the city’s appetite for basketball while the aforementioned G League team plays. As Birmingham fans always support their teams, this can only be a positive for the Magic City if it wishes to hold the tournament. 

Dec 21, 2015; Birmingham, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide forward Riley Norris (1) drives to the basket as Oregon Ducks forward Dillon Brooks (24) defends at Legacy Arena. The Ducks defeated the Crimson Tide 72-68. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Riley Norris (1) and Dillon Brooks (24) during Alabama’s Vulcan Classic game with Oregon in 2015. (Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports)

When it comes to SEC basketball, Legacy Arena has held a number of games in recent years. Alabama has played a number of non-conference games, including in Vulcan Classic events against Texas and Oregon, as well as the Chick-fil-A Birmingham Classic in 2019 (a game against intra-state foe Samford). In addition to that, the arena’s capacity is comparable to Bridgestone Arena, the current long-term host of the tourney. With the SEC’s often well-traveling fans coming to support, this is another potential positive when it comes to a Birmingham SEC tournament. Birmingham is also scheduled to have games in the 2023 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The city will play host to the southern regional games in the women’s tournament in 2025. The Big Dance is one of the top events in college sports and its presence in the Magic City will be met with significant interest from fans.

College basketball fans and Birmingham sports fans would almost certainly be excited to see the SEC tournament played in the Magic City. The prospect is an exciting one, and with many great things coming soon for Birmingham sports, that only means that the tournament being held here would be a great thing for all parties concerned.

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