Legion Field


Legion Field

Infobox_Stadium
stadium_name = Legion Field
nickname = "Football Capital of the South"


location = 400 Graymont Ave W
Birmingham, AL 35204
broke_ground =
opened = 1926
closed =
demolished =
owner = City of Birmingham
operator = UAB
surface = Turf
construction_cost = $439,000 USD
architect =
former_names =
tenants = UAB Blazers (NCAA) (1991–"present")
Team Alabama (AAFL) (2008–"present")
Papajohns.com Bowl (NCAA) (2006–"present")

Birmingham Americans (WFL) (1974)
Birmingham Vulcans (WFL) (1975)
Alabama Vulcans (AFA) (1979)
Birmingham Stallions (USFL) (1983–85)
Birmingham Fire (WLAF) (1991–92)
Birmingham Barracudas (CFL) (1995)
Birmingham Thunderbolts (XFL) (2001)
Dixie Bowl (NCAA) (1948–1949)
seating_capacity = 71,594

Legion Field is a large stadium in Birmingham, Alabama primarily designed to be used as a venue for American football, but is occasionally used for other large outdoor events. The stadium is named in honor of the American Legion, a U.S. organization of military veterans. At its peak it seated 83,091 people for football. Today, after the removal of the upper deck, Legion Field seats approximately 71,594 spectators.

Legion Field currently serves as the home field of the UAB Blazers, who compete in Conference USA.

tadium history

Construction on Legion Field began in 1926 at the cost of $439,000. Originally seating 21,000 people, the stadium's first event was a football game between Birmingham-Southern College and Howard College on November 19, 1927.

Over the years, the stadium grew. The bowl was enclosed. In 1961, a 9,000 seat upper deck was added to the stadium. In 1965, a new press box was built in the stadium. In 1969, lights were added to the stadium to allow for televised night games.

In 1970, Legion Field changed the field to an artificial turf, and changed it again in 1975 to Astroturf. The field changed back to grass in 1995 in preparation for Olympic soccer.

In 2004 a structural evaluation determined that the 9,000 seat upper deck, installed in 1961, would need major remediation to meet modern building codes. With little prospect of adequate repairs on the way, the University of Alabama withdrew the few home games it still scheduled for Birmingham. [" [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5762465/ Alabama forced to abandon unsafe Legion Field] " (August 19, 2003) Associated Press] The city removed the upper deck in 2005 since the capacity was greater than the need for its tenants.

In 2006, the City of Birmingham decided to change the playing surface at Legion Field to an artificial Field Turf in the hopes of hosting more high school football games in the stadium.

Football

The most famous use of Legion Field is for college football games. Both the University of Alabama and Auburn University have used this stadium for games across their history, primarily due to its size and location. It currently serves as the home stadium for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Iron Bowl

Legion Field is best-known for hosting the season-ending game between Alabama and Auburn each year from 1948 to 1988. Because of Birmingham's major industry of iron and steel manufacturing, the game became known as the "Iron Bowl." From the series' resumption in 1948 to 1987, tickets for the game in Birmingham would be split 50/50 to each school. As Auburn sought to make this a home-and-home series in the late 1980s, the ticket allocation changed to reflect a home game. In 1989 Auburn moved their home games in the series to Jordan-Hare Stadium, although they did play one last home game at Legion Field in 1991. Alabama followed suit in 2000. Alabama holds a 32-15 edge over their in-state rival in games played at Legion Field.

Other Alabama and Auburn Football Games

Due to its size and location, both Alabama and Auburn have used this stadium for other football games.

Prior to 1999, the University of Alabama played at least three home football games there every season, usually the big games, especially the Univ. of Tennessee game, because the capacity of Legion Field had been greater than that of Bryant-Denny Stadium, and because Legion Field was easier for the Tennessee fans to travel to. By the 1990s, Legion Field hosted either the Univ. of Tennessee game or the Auburn Tigers game, and two minor football games every year.

Among the other football teams that the Univ. of Alabama team has faced in Legion Field over the years include the University of Southern California, Louisiana State University, University of Mississippi, University of Georgia, Florida State University, University of Houston, and University of Kentucky

After the addition of the east upper deck to Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1998, the capacity of Bryant-Denny exceeded that of Legion Field, and Alabama began playing all the big games on campus, including the Univ. of Tennessee game in 1999 and the Auburn University game in 2000. From 1999–2001, Alabama only played two minor home games at Legion Field, and played only the home opener there in 2002 and 2003. The last Alabama game at Legion Field was a 40-17 victory over the University of South Florida on August 30, 2003. Due to the disrepair of the stadium, The Univ. of Alabama and the City of Birmingham ended their contract in 2004, moving all the games Alabama scheduled at Legion Field for 2004 to Tuscaloosa. [http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/5762465/]

Auburn University also used Legion Field less extensively, primarily due to size and the difficulty of transportation to Auburn for the first half of the 20th century, but for decades, Legion Field was the regular home of the Univ. of Tennessee-Auburn Univerity game every other year. Over time, Auburn moved all of its home games to Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama, including the Iron Bowl.

Other College Football Games

Legion Field has hosted a number of other college football games. The annual Magic City Classic between Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University has been played here since 1946. The Steel City Classic featuring Miles College and Stillman College are played at Legion Field. The MEAC/SWAC Challenge was played at Legion Field, moved to Orlando for years 2008 through 2010.

Birmingham-Southern College played against Mississippi College's junior varsity team in Legion Field on September 6, 2007 in their first football game since 1939.

In terms of postseason play, the Southwestern Conference uses the stadium for their conference championship. The Southeastern Conference played their first two conference title games here, in 1992 and 1993.

This stadium has also hosted four different bowl games in its history:
*Dixie Bowl (1947–48)
*Hall of Fame Bowl (1977–1985) This game is moved to Tampa in 1986.
*All-American Bowl (1986–1990)
*Papajohns.com Bowl (2006–current)

Professional Football

Legion Field has served as the home stadium for various professional football teams in Birmingham. It served as home field for the Birmingham Americans (Vulcans) of the World Football League (1974–1975), the Alabama Vulcans of the American Football Association (1979), the Birmingham Stallions of the United States Football League (1983–1985), and the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football (now NFL Europe) in 1991–92. In 1995, it was the home field of the Birmingham Barracudas for their single season of play as part of the short-lived expansion of the Canadian Football League into the U.S. In (2001), it was the home field for the single season of the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL.

High School Football

Legion Field has hosted various high school football games throughout its history. It is currently used by the Alabama High School Athletic Association for the Super Six high school football championships.

occer

Recently, Legion Field had been used successfully as a site for major soccer events, including preliminary matchups in the 1996 Olympic Games – the opening match between the United States and Argentina drew 83,810 spectators, the stadium's all-time record for any event. All of the concluding-round soccer games moved to Atlanta after preliminard games had been played in various other cities.

Legion Field had also hosted exhibition games by the U.S. men's and women's national soccer teams, and in 2005 it hosted a World Cup qualifier between the U.S. and Guatemala.

When the City of Birmingham changed back to an artificial turf field, the U.S. Soccer association announced that it will no longer be scheduling men's national team games for playing in Legion Field.

Concerts

Legion Field has also been used as a concert venue. The Rolling Stones played at Legion Field on October 5, 1989 on their Steel Wheels tour with Living Color opening and on August 4, 1994 during their Voodoo Lounge tour. The Counting Crows opened the latter evening.

Progressive Rock group Pink Floyd also played at Legion Field on May 1, 1994 during the worldwide "Pulse" tour. U2 also played the stadium for their ZOO TV tour on October 7, 1992.

In 1979 and 1980, the facility played host to the Drum Corps International World Championships.

Attendance records

Photographs

References

External links

* [http://ci.bham.al.us/legionfield/index.htm Legion Field at City of Birmingham official web site] dead link|date=January 2008|url=http://ci.bham.al.us/legionfield/index.htm
* [http://www.southtix.com/venues/leg.html Legion Field Seating Chart]
* [http://www.bhamwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Legion_Field Bhamwiki.com Legion Field article]

succession box
title = Host of
UAB Blazers
years = 1991 – present
before = first stadium
after = current
succession box
title = Host of
Papajohns.com Bowl
years = 2006 – present
before = first stadium
after = current
succession box
title = Host of
SWAC Championship Game
years = 1999 – present
before = first stadium
after = current
succession box
title = Host of
SEC Championship Game
years = 1992 – 1993
before = first stadium
after = Georgia Dome
succession box
title = Host of
Dixie Bowl
years = 1947 – 1948
before = first stadium
after = defunct
succession box
title = Host of
Hall of Fame (Outback) Bowl
years = 1977 – 1985
before = first stadium
after = Tampa Stadium
succession box
title = Host of
All-American Bowl
years = 1986 – 1990
before = continuation after departure of
Hall of Fame (Outback) Bowl
after = defunct
succession box
title = Host of the
Drum Corps International
World Championship
years = 1979 – 1980
before = Mile High Stadium
after = Olympic Stadium (Montreal)


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