Three more venues in Birmingham, Alabama, have been named as host venues for The World Games 2022: Legion Field, Birmingham CrossPlex and Boutwell Auditorium. Protective Stadium, a new downtown venue expected to open this year, had previously been named as a venue as well, making for four of the expected 25 venues to be named for the international multisport competition.
“We’re excited to officially begin announcing our venues,” The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers said. “These are four of the best places to enjoy sports in our community. And by July of 2022, we will finally be able to fill all the seats in these beautiful venues again as we serve host to the first major international sporting event coming out of this pandemic. Each of these venues is a prime example of our city’s love of sport.”
Legion Field is the home of University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers football and opened in 1927. The venue seats 71,594 and hosted the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn until 2000. At The World Games 2022 the venue will host flag football, which will be presented by the NFL and feature eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams.
Birmingham CrossPlex opened in 2011 and is a 750,000-square-foot multipurpose athletic facility featuring a world-class venue that features an indoor track, a 50-meter indoor swimming pool, a 5,000-square-foot meeting hall and the Bill Harris Arena, which provides a 20,000-square-foot multipurpose space. The venue will host inline hockey, artistic roller skating, speed skating (indoor and outdoor), wheelchair rugby, lifesaving, finswimming and canoe polo.
Boutwell Auditorium is a 5,000-seat multipurpose arena built in 1924. At The World Games, it will host martial arts action, including sumo, kickboxing and muaythai.
Protective Stadium will host the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony. The $180 million venue is expected to be complete later this year and will seat 47,100. It will become the permanent home to the University of Alabama at Birmingham football team.
“Sustainability has always been one of the core values of The World Games, which is why the host cities are not required to build new venues for The Games,” said IWGA CEO Joachim Gassow. “Birmingham has excellent conditions for hosting international sports events, and these three venues, along with the new Protective Stadium and other impressive existing facilities, will be perfect stages for our world-class athletes.”
The World Games 2022 Birmingham will be staged July 7–17, 2022. The event, which was postponed from its original 2021 dates when the Olympic Games were moved, are expected to generate an estimated $256 million in economic impact for the city.