Blazers all guns ‘blaz’ing Protective Stadium


Univ. of Alabama Protective Stadium inaugural event Image: UAB_FB (Twitter)

Protective Stadium (US), a key World Games venue due to stage the Birmingham 2022 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, has witnessed its grand opening.

‘Inside the Games’ stated that the 45,000-capacity venue was used by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers gridiron football team as they took on the Liberty Flames.

The 47,100-capacity Protective Stadium is a multipurpose stadium owned and operated by the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, United States. It opened on October 2nd, 2021 as the new home of the UAB Blazers football program, with the inaugural game being a 36-12 UAB loss to Liberty.

UAB lost the game 36-12, but did score the first points at the venue via a Matthew Quinn field goal.

The UAB Blazers football team represents the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in the sport of American football. The Blazers compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the West Division of Conference USA (CUSA).

The Liberty Flames football program represents Liberty University, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, in college football. The Flames compete in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) as an independent.

The World Games 2022 will be the 11th World Games, a major international multisport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that were not contested in the Olympic Games. It will be held at the Protective Stadium at Birmingham, Alabama, United States.

The ‘Inside the Games’ further stated that a fireworks show followed the conclusion of the game, while lightning had earlier threatened to disrupt pre-game festivities but the electrical storm was short-lived.

The official attendance was 37,167.

The Protective Stadium is the new permanent home of the Blazers college football team, after the program returned in 2017 having been scrapped three years earlier.

It cost $180 million (£140 million/€150 million) to build and is owned and operated by the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Authority, with funding coming from the Birmingham City Council, UAB and the University’s corporate partners, among other sources.

The stadium is named after the insurance company of the same name, which is headquartered in Birmingham and purchased the naming rights.

Funk musician Bootsy Collins has been named the Master of the Ceremonies for the 2022 World Games, so will feature prominently.

Birmingham 2022 Honorary Co-Chairs Charles Barkley and Vonetta Flowers – both Olympic champions – Noah Galloway, Cat Whitewill and Randy Owen are also due to feature in the Opening Ceremony.

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