This arena is far from the futuristic NFL venues in Las Vegas or Inglewood. Its aesthetics refer to classic facilities from the 90s. The stadium is entirely open-air, which is rare these days.
The main arena of the 2022 World Games
Protective Stadium, with a base capacity of 42,000, is located in the center of Birmingham, Alabama. It was built within the boundaries of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. The venue is home for UAB Blazers (football) and Birmingham Legion FC (soccer). In July this year, the stadium will be the arena for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2022 World Games.
The present name of the facility is valid until 2034. This is the result of an agreement concluded on April 11, 2019, with Protective Life Corporation. The venue was funded by Birmingham City Council, the local branch of the University of Alabama, and the uni's corporate partners. The construction price tag was $188 million.
Preparatory work on the construction site began in 2018. On September 18, 2019, Populous presented the final design of the stadium. On December 20, 2019, Brasfield & Gorrie signed a general contracting agreement.
Construction work commenced in early 2020 and ended in the second half of 2021. Interestingly, during the course of works, the contractor proposed to add 1,200 seats extra, without increasing the cost. On October 2, 2021, the venue opened. On that day there was a game of the local college football team (UAB Blazers - Liberty Flames, 12-36).
Massive scoreboard in front of the main gate
The architecture of the facility refers to the industrial traditions of the city. Thanks to this, the stadium fits well with the surrounding buildings. Protective Stadium does not have a roof over the stands.
The lighting is placed on massive steel frames around the stands. The venue stands out with one of the largest scoreboards in college football (44 m x 13 m). It is located at the entrance on the south side.
The west stand consists of a lower tier and a superstructure instead of the upper tier of the regular stands. The four-story superstructure includes boxes (537 seats), media zones and most of the back-up facilities.
On the eastern side, there are two tiers of the stands and only one level of the auditorium behind both end zones. The lower bowl of the stands on the eastern and western sides consists of 33 rows. The corners on the east side are taller than those on the west side.
The auditorium has a capacity of 42,000 physical seats, although the stadium can accommodate 3,000 more. This is due to the fact that some zones of the arena are not included in its capacity. This applies to grassy areas behind the end zones as well as club and deck areas.
Supporters have at their disposal a spacious plaza and a 360-degree concourse around the stadium. There are 34 boxes for fans who value comfort. Football and soccer players have access to 5 dressing rooms. The facility covers an area of more than 77,000 square meters. There are 10,000 parking spaces only a 10-minute walk from the stadium.