Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center - Birmingham, AL

WWE’s Armageddon rocked the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in 2000 with a Six-Man Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship. Today, the Birmingham, Ala., sports, convention and entertainment development has been renamed the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

The BJCC boasts a 19,000-seat arena, a 3000-seat concert hall, a 1000-seat theater and a 220,000-square foot exhibition hall. The complex includes the 700-room Sheraton Birmingham Hotel and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

The arena is home to the Birmingham Steeldogs arenafootball2 team. It hosts major concerts, ice skating events and often the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Various college basketball tournaments have been held at the BJCC, including those of the Southeastern Conference and the Sun Belt Conference, and the first and second rounds of several NCAA tournaments.

The concert hall hosts concerts and touring Broadway and family shows, as well as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. The smaller theater holds operas, ballets and smaller concerts and stage shows, as well as the Birmingham Children’s Theatre.

Birmingham is Alabama’s largest city with a population of more than 242,000, representing 24 percent of the state’s total population. Its population ranks 48th in the nation. Birmingham is named after Birmingham, England – the country’s major industrial city. Its nickname of “The Magic City” comes from its fast pace industrial growth (iron and steel) during the turn of the century. Birmingham was a major Civil Rights Movement city during the 1950s-60s.

The city is home to more than 40,000 businesses, including two Fortune 500 companies, Regions Financial and Saks Incorporated. It’s a major Southeastern center for medical research, banking, publishing, biotechnology and information technology. The city has three universities, three colleges and four junior colleges.

Birmingham is Alabama’s entertainment and culture capital. The city offers many art galleries and the Birmingham Museum of Art, the largest municipal art museum in the Southeast. Notable Birmingham museums include the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, which has the largest collection of motorcycles in North America with more than 900 bikes. Nearby Ruffner Mountain is home to the Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, one of the United States’ largest urban nature reserves.

While the city isn’t home to any major professional sports teams, the University of Alabama and Auburn University football teams have large fanbases, as does UAB’s basketball team. Birmingham will again host a college football bowl game for the first time in 16 years with the Birmingham Bowl in December. The nearby Talladega Superspeedway hosts several major NASCAR races every year.

Notable people who were born in or have lived in Birmingham and its suburbs include American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard and Diana DeGarmo; Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis; baseball’s Willie Mays; actress Nell Carter; singer Emmylou Harris; and Miss America  2005, Diedre Downs.

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