Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium logo.svg
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Near completion in August 2017
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location within Atlanta
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Georgia (U.S. state))
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium (the United States)
Former namesNew Atlanta Stadium (Planning & construction)
Address1 AMB Drive NW
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°45′18″N84°24′04″W / 33.755°N 84.401°W / 33.755; -84.401 Coordinates: 33°45′18″N84°24′04″W / 33.755°N 84.401°W / 33.755; -84.401
Public transit Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Vine City
Dome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center
Peachtree Center
Owner Georgia World Congress Center Authority [1]
Operator AMB Sports and Entertainment Group
Capacity American Football: 71,000
(Expandable to 75,000)
Soccer: 42,500
(Expandable to 71,000, standing room to at least 73,019) [2] [3] [4] [5]
Record attendanceAmerican Football: 77,430 (2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, January 8, 2018)
Soccer: 73,019 (2018 MLS Cup, December 8, 2018)
Field sizeAmerican Football: 120 yd × 53.333 yd (109.7 m × 48.8 m) [6]
Football : 115 yd × 75 yd (105 m × 69 m) [7]
Surface FieldTurf Revolution 360 [8]
Construction
Broke groundMay 19, 2014 [9] [10]
OpenedAugust 26, 2017
Construction cost US$1.6 billion (Projected)
Architect HOK [11]
tvsdesign [12]
Goode Van Slyke [12]
Stanley Beaman & Sears [12]
Project managerDarden & Company [13]
Structural engineer BuroHappold Engineering/Hoberman [14]
Services engineer WSP [14]
General contractorHHRM JV (Comprising Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H. J. Russell & Co. & C. D. Moody Construction Co.) [12]
Tenants
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) 2017–present
Atlanta United FC (MLS) 2017–present
Peach Bowl (NCAA) 2018–present
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) 2017–present
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game (NCAA) 2017–present
Website
MercedesBenzStadium.com

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose retractable-roof stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. [15] The home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), it replaced the now-demolished Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home stadium from 1992 until 2016. Mercedes-Benz Stadium holds the record for the world's largest video board at 62,350 square feet (5,793 m2), and is one of five stadiums in the NFL with a retractable roof. [16]

Stadium place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events

A stadium is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.

Atlanta Falcons National Football League franchise in Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) South division. The Falcons joined the NFL in 1965 as an expansion team, after the NFL offered then-owner Rankin Smith a franchise to keep him from joining the rival American Football League (AFL).

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

Contents

The stadium is owned by the state of Georgia through the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and operated by AMB Group, the parent organization of the Falcons and Atlanta United. The total cost was estimated at US$1.6 billion, as of June 2016. [17] The stadium officially opened on August 26, 2017 with a Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite the retractable roof system being incomplete at the time. [18] [19] Work on the retractable roof was completed on July 14, 2018. [20]

Georgia World Congress Center Convention center in Altlanta

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a convention center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Enclosing some 3.9 million ft2 in exhibition space and hosting more than a million visitors each year, the GWCC is the third-largest convention center in the United States. Opened in 1976, the GWCC was the first state-owned convention center established in the United States. The center is operated on behalf of the state by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which was chartered in 1971 by Georgia General Assembly to develop an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta. The authority later developed the Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which replaced the Georgia Dome. In 2017, the Georgia Dome was closed on March 5 and demolished by implosion on November 20 while Mercedes-Benz Stadium officially opened on August 26. While the GWCCA owns Mercedes-Benz Stadium, AMB Group, the parent organization for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United FC, is responsible for the stadium's operations.

Arthur Blank American businessman

Arthur M. Blank is an American businessman and a co-founder of The Home Depot. He currently owns two professional sporting teams based in Atlanta, Georgia, the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League and Atlanta United of Major League Soccer.

United States dollar Currency of the United States of America

The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent (¢) units, but is occasionally divided into 1000 mills (₥) for accounting. The circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars.

Proposal timeline

2010

In May 2010, it was reported by multiple news outlets that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in replacing the Georgia Dome with a newly constructed open-air stadium, although at the time it was planned to retain the Georgia Dome to continue hosting non-NFL events. [21] [22] [23] The team was pursuing a new stadium because of the team's desire to play outdoors, as well as Falcons team owner Arthur Blank's interest in hosting another Super Bowl. [22] The stadium was also pursued as a possible bid for a venue of an upcoming FIFA World Cup. [24]

Georgia Dome former domed stadium located in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Dome was a domed stadium in the Southeastern United States. Located in Atlanta between downtown to the east and Vine City to the west, it was owned and operated by the State of Georgia as part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. Its successor, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was built adjacent to the south and opened on August 26, 2017. The Georgia Dome was demolished on November 20, 2017.

Super Bowl Annual championship game of the National Football League in American football

The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) where the champion of the National Football Conference (NFC) competes against the champion of the American Football Conference (AFC). The game is the culmination of a regular season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. Normally, Roman numerals are used to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season. The sole exception to this naming convention tradition occurred with Super Bowl 50, which was played on February 7, 2016, following the 2015 regular season, and the following year, the nomenclature returned to Roman numerals for Super Bowl LI, following the 2016 regular season. The upcoming Super Bowl is Super Bowl LIV, scheduled for February 2, 2020, following the 2019 regular season.

FIFA World Cup association football competition for mens national teams

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

2011

Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous released comprehensive plans for the proposed stadium in February 2011. [25] Populous' early cost estimate for the project was US$700 million. [26] According to the master plan, the stadium would have a maximum capacity of 71,000, but can expand to 75,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl. It will also feature multiple club levels, suites and exhibition area. [25]

Kansas City, Missouri City in western Missouri

Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.

Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

2012

In April 2012, Populous released a new price estimate of US$947.7 million, which was significantly higher than the previous proposal of US$700 million. [27] In April 2012, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that if a deal is reached, the new stadium's construction would be expected to begin in 2014, with the Falcons to begin regular-season play in 2017. [28] [29] The proposed location of the new stadium is a large parking lot in Atlanta's Vine City neighborhood, which is less than a mile north of the Georgia Dome's current location. [30] Once construction is complete, the Georgia Dome would subsequently be demolished. [29]

<i>The Atlanta Journal-Constitution</i> Daily newspaper in Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) is the only major daily newspaper in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia, United States. It is the flagship publication of Cox Enterprises. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the result of the merger between The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. The two staffs were combined in 1982. Separate publication of the morning Constitution and afternoon Journal ended in 2001 in favor of a single morning paper under the Journal-Constitution name.

English Avenue and Vine City Neighborhoods of Atlanta in Fulton, Georgia, United States

English Avenue and Vine City are two adjacent and closely linked neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia. Together the neighborhoods make up neighborhood planning unit L. The two neighborhoods are frequently cited together in reference to shared problems and to shared redevelopment schemes and revitalization plans.

On August 24, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an official deal could be reached on the construction of a new stadium by the end of 2012. [31] They also reported on September 10 that Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said site improvements could likely bump the total cost to US$1.2 billion; however, that does not increase the actual building cost, which still remains at an estimated US$948 million. [32]

Kasim Reed American politician, mayor of Atlanta, Georgia

Mohammed Kasim Reed is an American attorney and former politician who was the 59th mayor of Atlanta, Georgia's state capital and largest city, from 2010 to 2018.

On December 10, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, in a unanimous decision, approved the blueprint and most of the agreement terms for the new stadium plans. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, the term sheet is non-binding and changes could be made at any time as regards stadium construction. Stadium location, however, is yet to be worked out; proposed locations being reported are within walking distance of the Georgia Dome, with one site located one-half mile north, and the other one block directly south, at the one of the stadium's existing parking lots. [33] The project made national headlines for the first time in 2012 on December 15, with team owner Arthur Blank stating in The New York Times that he would rather have a new stadium be constructed than a "remodeling job" of the Georgia Dome. [34]

2013

During a January 10, 2013 press conference, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed expressed his optimism and confidence in the construction of the new stadium; he also mentioned the possibility of the new stadium helping the city compete for its first Major League Soccer team. [35]

Aerial photo showing land next to Georgia Dome cleared for construction of the new stadium. Overhead shot of Georgia Dome, New Falcons stadium construction site April 25, 2014.jpg
Aerial photo showing land next to Georgia Dome cleared for construction of the new stadium.

On March 7, 2013, the Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta agreed to build the new downtown stadium. The maximum public contribution for the project is US$200 million, coming from the hotel-motel tax in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County. The Atlanta City Council officially approved the stadium on March 19, 2013. The council voted, 11–4, in favor of the use of city hotel-motel taxes to pay US$200 million toward construction costs and potentially several times that toward costs of financing, maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050. [36] On May 21, 2013, the NFL approved a US$200 million loan to the Falcons organization for the purpose of building the stadium. [37]

On June 18, 2013, it was announced that the Falcons have completed a full conceptual design of the proposed new stadium, and that they have secured the initial approval to proceed with the schematic design phase. According to Doug Farrar's Shutdown Corner, "The stadium will seat approximately 70,000 people, with 180 luxury suites and 7,500 club seats." The main agency involved will be 360 Architecture, partnered with three other architectural firms. [38]

2014

Arthur Blank indicated the groundbreaking of the stadium would be conducted the last week of March 2014. [39] [40] [41] Just after Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive was closed permanently, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church held its last Sunday service on March 9 before the historic church was demolished. Due to legal issues surrounding the issuing of bonds, the stadium did not break ground in March 2014. [42] Instead the ground was officially broken in a ceremony led by Mayor Kasim Reed on May 19, 2014. [43]

2015

Construction site in November 2015.

In a live broadcast on August 24, 2015, owner Arthur Blank announced that the new title of the stadium would be Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons' archrivals in the NFC South, play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, this gave the division two stadiums that were sponsored by the same company. A new logo was also introduced. Steve Cannon, then CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, also spoke at the event about the company's corporate move from New Jersey to Atlanta. Other speakers included Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Design

Atlanta Falcon sculpture outside the stadium Atlanta Falcons sculpture Mercedes-Benz Stadium 2017-09-19.jpg
Atlanta Falcon sculpture outside the stadium
Interior of the stadium in August 2017 Mercedes Benz Stadium interior 2017-08-25 1.jpg
Interior of the stadium in August 2017
Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof animation 1.gif
Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof animation 2.gif
Animation of the pinwheel-shaped roof opening

The winning design, submitted by HOK, [44] featured an eight-panel retractable roof that resembled a pinwheel, and a glass wall that would open with the roof to allow in fresh air. [45]

The roof design included eight triangular translucent panels, that when opened would create the illusion of a bird's wings extended. Surrounding the opening of the roof would be a halo video board that would enclose the playing surface, stretching from one of the 10-yard lines to the other and then curving around the end zones to complete the oval. [46] Each of the eight panels operates on two straight, parallel rails; one rail is responsible for moving the panel while the other rail stabilizes the panel. [19] Mark Silvera, president of Uni-Systems Engineering, explains that closing the roof takes slightly less time than opening the roof, since the roof has to disengage the seals at the start of the opening procedure and slow down towards the end to prevent the panels from getting derailed. [20]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the hiring of Daktronics, a South Dakota-based firm, to build the stadium's electronics display. The announced features included a 58-by-1,100-foot (18 by 335 m) circular LED board that would ring the opening of the stadium's roof, and would be "three times as large as the current largest single display board in the NFL" installed at EverBank Field in Jacksonville (also built by Daktronics). In addition, the company installed more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of other LED boards, including field-level advertising boards for soccer games. [47]

Mike Egan, a senior executive for AMB Group, described Mercedes-Benz Stadium as "an outdoor stadium with a roof over it". Egan stated that the field is equipped with a drainage system, and the electrical systems for the main halo board and other video boards are outdoor rated, allowing stadium officials to open the roof if there is up to a 25 percent chance of precipitation; Egan also stated that other factors such as humidity and outside temperatures would be taken into consideration on whether or not the roof would be opened. [20]

The design included a 100-yard bar that would stretch the length of the football field in the upper concourse, along with a fantasy football lounge and premium club seating at field level, behind the teams' benches. [48]

The stadium incorporated contemporary art into its interior and exterior design, with over 180 commissioned works, including pieces by Nari Ward, Hank Willis Thomas, and Steven and William Ladd. The centerpiece of the art collection is Gábor Miklós Szőke's stainless steel sculpture The Atlanta Falcon, which the artist said is the largest freestanding bird sculpture in the world. The falcon, perched atop a 13 foot (4.0 m) tall bronze football, is 41 feet (12 m) high with a wingspan of 70 feet (21 m). The over 73,000 pounds (33,000 kg) artwork stands in front of the stadium, and as tall as a four-story building. [49]

Architect Bill Johnson said the circular opening in the roof was inspired by the Roman Pantheon ("Pantheon" was also the working name for the building design). The roof was designed to be made of a clear, lightweight polymer material that can adjust its opacity to control light, and much of the exterior will be clear polymer or glass to allow views to the outside. The middle concourse and upper bowl were eliminated in the east end zone to allow for an unobstructed view of the Atlanta skyline. [45]

Atlanta United FC General Manager Jim Smith said the design had "soccer in mind from the very beginning", pointing to the retracting lower bowl seats to widen the field, and mechanized curtains that limit the capacity to about 42,500 and make the stadium feel more intimate. [50]

The stadium also includes features specific for college football use. It opened with two oversized locker rooms, each capable of housing 100 players, reflecting the much larger size of college football rosters compared to those of the NFL. However, the stadium did not initially include another feature important in that context—staircases connecting the seats to the field, making it difficult for bands to enter the field for halftime shows (most NFL teams, including the Falcons, do not have bands). According to ESPN, "You can bet, after the [2017] Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games exposed the oversight, the stairs are there now." [51]

The stadium features a Chick-fil-A location, a business that famously closes on Sundays, despite its main tenant, the Falcons, playing most of their home games on Sundays. [52] The location opens when the Falcons have a Monday night or Thursday night home game, as well as non-Sunday home games of Atlanta United FC and other events at the stadium. On Sundays, the digital signs will be flipped and concessionaire Levy Restaurants will sell non-branded food and drinks at the location. [53]

Construction delays

The Georgia Dome (right) and Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 2, 2017 Georgia Dome 2017.JPG
The Georgia Dome (right) and Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 2, 2017
The remains of Georgia Dome with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the background. Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Georgia Dome remains in the foreground (27663350329).jpg
The remains of Georgia Dome with the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the background.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium's projected opening date was delayed three times due to the complexity of the eight-panel retractable roof. The stadium was originally intended to open on March 1, 2017; however, the opening date was later delayed to June 1, 2017, then to July 30, 2017, and then to August 26, 2017. Steve Cannon, CEO of the Atlanta Falcons' parent company AMB Group, stated that the Falcons' preseason schedule and the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Games would not be affected by the new opening date; however, three of Atlanta United's matches would be affected. The July 30 game against Orlando City SC was moved to Atlanta United's interim home of Bobby Dodd Stadium for July 29 while two home matches scheduled in August were moved to later dates. Additionally, the Georgia Dome's demolition was put on hold until the new stadium's certificate of occupancy could be issued. [18] On June 9, 2017, stadium officials announced that they were confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would open as scheduled, and demolition of the Georgia Dome had resumed, and the Dome was imploded on the morning of November 20, 2017. [54]

On July 25, 2017, stadium officials reported that the roof would be in the closed position during the Falcons' preseason games and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games while contractors continue to fine tune the roof to allow all eight panels to work in sync. Falcons' President Rich McKay also stated that the roof would remain closed whenever outside temperatures exceed 80 °F (27 °C). [55] On August 16, 2017, WXIA reported that construction of the retractable roof system was intentionally delayed by stadium and construction officials to ensure the roof's long term operability and to ensure that other parts of the stadium would be completed on time. [56]

On September 10, 2017, the Falcons announced that, contrary to earlier plans, the stadium roof would in fact be open during the Falcons home opener on September 17 against the Green Bay Packers if weather permitted. [57] On October 6, 2017, stadium officials announced that the roof would be opened, weather permitting, for Atlanta United's regular season finale against Toronto FC on October 22; stadium officials also stated that the roof would remain closed for the remainder of the Falcons' regular season as well as for any home matches hosted by Atlanta United during the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs as contractors continue to work on fully mechanizing the roof. [58]

Additional construction and renovations

Hoping to address concerns of overcrowding at the ingress and egress areas of the stadium, stadium officials announced that they plan to add several more doors to the stadium. Overcrowding and congestion was a frequent concern and complaint from fans attending major events during the stadium's first year of operation. Fans attending the College Football National Championship game reported significant delays in both entering and exiting the stadium, with some reporting wait times that exceeded 45 minutes to get out of the stadium at the completion of the game. [59]

Pedestrian bridge

A pedestrian Bridge, that will provide access from parking lots and a MARTA station located off of Northside Dr., is currently under construction. When completed, the bridge will allow pedestrians a direct path from the Vine City MARTA station to the northwest side entrance into the stadium. Cost for the pedestrian bridge is US$24 million.[ citation needed ]

Playing surface

On February 7, 2019, stadium officials stated that the artificial turf would be replaced prior to the Falcons' 2019 season as part of nearly $2 million in capital improvements to the stadium; stadium officials also noted that the turf would be replaced approximately every two years given the number of events, both private and public, held annually at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. [60]

Retractable roof

Several reports of the roof leaking during the stadium's inaugural season have caused some issues for the stadium's design team. During the College Football National Championship Game in January 2018, several media outlets reported a significant leak that appeared to be occurring just over the field of play near the 25-yard line. Bill Hancock, College Football Playoff Executive Director, said that he and his team had been made aware of the issue concerning water leaking from the roof and that he believed that the issue did not affect the field of play during the game. Neither team competing in the game reported any issues with the playing surface. [61]

Stadium officials clarified after the initial leaks that were reported back in October 2017 that the issue was not a "leak" but rather a "few drops of water" that were falling from the roof around isolated parts of the stadium. Officials stated that the issue was due to the fact that the roof was still not fully mechanized yet, and that the issues would be fixed before the Falcons' 2018 season. They also stated that the issues were common for newly constructed stadiums with retractable roofs. [61]

Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof in October 2018 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Roof Atlanta United 2018-10-21 - 17 14.jpg
Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof in October 2018

Since the retractable roof was one of the major features and design points of the stadium, some of the problems with the roof have been magnified in the stadium's first year of operation. The roof, which is supposed to open in as little as 12 minutes with the push of a button, was not fully operational by the time the stadium's primary tenants, the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta United FC, seasons began. The roof was required to be mechanically opened, which was a very time consuming process. As such, the roof was only opened twice in its first year of use, once for an Atlanta Falcons game – a Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers on September 17, 2017 and a nationally televised MLS soccer game, when the Atlanta United FC hosted Toronto FC in a sold-out game of more than 70,000 fans on October 22, 2017. [62]

However, President of the Atlanta Falcons, Rich McKay told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he expects all issues with the roof to be completely resolved before the Atlanta Falcons season starts in 2018. McKay said he expects the fixes to allow the stadium to be used as a more "open air" environment for Falcons home games. "The roof is being worked on as we speak and yes we expect the roof to be fully operational by football season, if not well before," McKay told the AP. "Fully operational means you will see us go to much more of an open configuration as we designed at the beginning. When it's ready to go, we'll be open depending on weather." [63]

On May 29, 2018, the roof was opened for the first time since October 2017 for construction purposes. Stadium officials stated that the roof would be open for 10 days, regardless of weather, to complete work on automating the roof. After the 10-day construction period, an unspecified time frame would be required for final commissioning work, after of which, operation of the roof would be turned over to stadium officials. [64] On July 25, 2018, in a demonstration to members of the media, the roof was opened and closed for the first time as intended, with both procedures taking approximately eight minutes each. [65]

Costs and funding

In December 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center's board of governors approved a resolution to raise the cost of the stadium to US$1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost US$1 billion, then rose to US$1.2 billion in October 2013. [66]

The city has agreed to contribute US$200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues [67] and with the state of Georgia contributing US$40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near US$600 million. [68]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the sale of personal seat licenses (PSL) costing up to US$45,000 per seat, depending on the section of the stadium. The most expensive tickets are priced at US$385 per game, in addition to one-time PSL fees, for the first three years. [69]

On August 21, 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mercedes-Benz would acquire the naming rights for the stadium, and this was later confirmed by a press conference at the stadium site on August 24. Under the stadium deal with the city of Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the Falcons organization controls the stadium's naming rights and receives all related revenue. Then-Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon, who would subsequently join the Falcons' organization in 2016 as CEO of AMB Group, [70] stated that the sponsorship would last 27 years, calling it the largest marketing deal in Mercedes-Benz' history, but Cannon would not disclose the full value of the deal; however, Sports Business Daily reported in February 2016 that the naming rights contract was valued at US$324 million. Mercedes-Benz also holds a 10-year naming rights contract for the former Louisiana Superdome signed in 2011. [71] [72]

College football

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

The stadium prior to the 2018 Peach Bowl. Peach Bowl Pre-game (27654674649).jpg
The stadium prior to the 2018 Peach Bowl.

In April 2014, the Peach Bowl, one of the six rotating semifinal sites for the College Football Playoff, announced it would move to the new stadium from the Georgia Dome beginning with the 2017 season. [73] In years when the Peach Bowl does not host a semi-final College Football Playoff Championship game, the Peach Bowl will host one of the College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl games.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an annual college football game played on the opening weekend of the NCAA Division I FBS season in Atlanta. The event coincides with Labor Day weekend in the United States. From its inception in 2008 until 2016, the game was held in the Georgia Dome. The Georgia Dome's replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, hosts the game starting in 2017.

SEC Championship Game

On September 8, 2015, it was announced that the SEC Championship Game would be held at the stadium beginning in 2017 and remain there until 2027. [74] The SEC Championship Game dates back to 1992 and is the oldest conference championship game in college football. In 2017, Georgia and Auburn would meet in Mercedes Benz Stadium, in what would be a rematch from early regular season meeting. Looking to avenge their loss from week 11, Georgia would go on to defeat Auburn 28–7 and claim the 2017 SEC Conference Championship.

College Football National Championship Game

On November 4, 2015, it was announced that the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship would be held at the stadium on January 8, 2018, beating out Houston, Miami Gardens, and Santa Clara. [75] On Sunday December 3, 2017, four teams were selected by the College Football Playoff Committee to compete in the College Football Playoff Semifinals, with the winners of both semi-final games meeting in Atlanta on Monday January 8, 2018. In order of seeding the teams selected were: Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia and Alabama. Both Georgia and Alabama would advance from the semi-final round and for the second time in the BCS/CFP era, two teams from the same conference (SEC) would play for the national championship. Alabama defeated Georgia 26–23 in overtime.

Georgia Tech Home Games

On February 26, 2019, Georgia Tech, Arthur Blank, and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl announced that Georgia Tech will play one home game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium from 2020 to 2024. [76]

Super Bowl

On May 24, 2016, the NFL announced that the Super Bowl would come to Atlanta on February 3, 2019. Atlanta hosted Super Bowl LIII (53) with the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams losing to the AFC champion New England Patriots 13–3. Super Bowl LIII was expected to bring in over US$400 million to the local economy, which expected over 1 million people during Super Bowl weekend (Feb 1–3, 2019), with game related events, parties, concerts and corporate events happening all around the city. [77]

Soccer

Concerts

On October 12, 2017, the inaugural concert at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, featuring Garth Brooks, received widespread scorn, including demands for refunds, due to the reported abysmal acoustics that many attendees deemed unfit for concert sound. The stadium authority stated that plans are underway to help improve the acoustical quality of the stadium. [84]

Since the first concert, efforts were made to improve the acoustics in the stadium. New speakers were added to suites, the angle of the bowl speakers was adjusted and delays introduced in order to reduce echo. During a concert in May 2018 featuring Kenny Chesney, reports were that the sound quality had improved since the first concert. [85] [86] Chesney's concert attracted 51,312 people and grossed $5.068 million. [87]

Following concerts by Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney, the venue hosted Taylor Swift for two nights in August 2018 as part of Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour. [88] Over the two sold-out nights, Taylor performed to an audience of 116,746 people and grossed $18.089 million. [89] She was the first music act to headline the stadium for two consecutive nights. [90]

Also in August 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed for two nights as part of the On the Run II Tour [91] The two shows grossed $14.074 million and were attended by 105,170 people. [92]

Ed Sheeran performed at the venue as part of his ÷ Tour in November 2018. [93] The show was attended by 50,906 people and grossed $5.021 million. [94]

On March 30, 2019, George Strait will perform a one-off concert at the venue, joined by musical guests Chris Stapleton, Chris Janson, and Ashley McBryde. [95]

Other major events

See also

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State Farm Arena is a multi-purpose indoor arena located in Atlanta, Georgia. The arena serves as the home venue for the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Atlanta Hawks and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)'s Atlanta Dream. It also served as home to the National Hockey League's Atlanta Thrashers from 1999 to 2011, before the team moved to Winnipeg. It opened in 1999 at a cost of $213.5 million, replacing the Omni Coliseum. It is owned by the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority and operated by the Hawks, owned by Tony Ressler along with a group of investors including Grant Hill.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an annual college football game played on the opening weekend of the NCAA Division I FBS season in Atlanta, Georgia. The event coincides with Labor Day weekend in the United States. From its inception in 2008 until 2016, the game was held in the Georgia Dome. The Georgia Dome's replacement, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, began hosting the game starting in 2017.

For the 1996 Summer Olympics, a total of twenty-nine sports venues were used.

Sports in Atlanta

Sports in Atlanta has a rich history, including the oldest on-campus NCAA Division I football stadium, Bobby Dodd Stadium, built in 1913 by the students of Georgia Tech. Atlanta also played host to the second intercollegiate football game in the South, played between the A&M College of Alabama and the University of Georgia in Piedmont Park in 1892; this game is now called the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. The city hosts college football's annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10 km race. Atlanta was the host city for the Centennial 1996 Summer Olympics, and Downtown Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park was built for and commemorates the games.

The 2013 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 48th season in the National Football League and the sixth under head coach Mike Smith. An expected Super Bowl contender riddled with injuries, the Falcons had a tough start to the season, finishing with a 4–12 record and failing to improve their 13–3 record from 2012. Thus missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

2014 New Orleans Saints season

The 2014 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 48th season in the National Football League, the 39th to host games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the eighth under head coach Sean Payton.

Atlanta United FC American professional soccer team

Atlanta United FC, commonly known as Atlanta United, is an American professional soccer club based in Atlanta, Georgia that competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference. It is the most recent winner of the MLS Cup.

Celebration Bowl

The Celebration Bowl is a postseason college football bowl game. Sponsored by the Air Force Reserve, it was first played in the 2015 season. The game, organized by ESPN Events, is contested between the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) — the two prominent conferences of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in NCAA Division I. It serves as the de facto national championship of black college football and is the only active bowl game to feature teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Starting with the December 2017 game, it is played at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium; the first two games were played at the Georgia Dome.

2017 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2017 season was the Atlanta Falcons' 52nd season in the National Football League and their third under head coach Dan Quinn. They entered the season as the defending NFC champions and tried to defend their NFC title for a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl after losing the previous year against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI after blowing a 28-3 lead. This was the Falcons' first year in Mercedes-Benz Stadium after spending the previous 25 seasons in the Georgia Dome, which was demolished on November 20, 2017. Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened as scheduled on August 26, 2017; however, its retractable roof system was incomplete. The roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium remained in the closed position for most of the 2017 season, with the roof opened only during the September 17 game against the Green Bay Packers, as contractors continue to fully mechanize the roof.

2017 New Orleans Saints season

The 2017 New Orleans Saints season was the franchise's 51st season in the National Football League, the 42nd to host games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and the eleventh under head coach Sean Payton. The team improved on their 7–9 output from last season, while achieving an 8-game winning streak after losing their first two contests, their longest streak since 2009, when they won Super Bowl XLIV. In Week 13 the Saints clinched their first winning season since 2013 and swept the Carolina Panthers for the first time since 2011. In Week 16, the Saints clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2013 by defeating the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 17, the Saints clinched the NFC South for the first time since 2011 with the Panthers loss to the Falcons. On January 7, 2018 the Saints played their divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They beat Carolina for the third time, 31–26 in the Wild Card, but fell to the Minnesota Vikings 24–29 in the Divisional Round in a dramatic ending.

Georgia State Stadium college football stadium in Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia State Stadium is a college football stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The stadium is the home of the Georgia State University Panthers football team as of the 2017 season, replacing the Georgia Dome which had served as their home stadium from the program's inception in 2010 until 2016. It was also the home of the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).

2018 MLS All-Star Game exhibition match between MLS All-Stars and Juventus FC

The 2018 Major League Soccer All-Star Game was the 23rd edition of the annual Major League Soccer All-Star Game. It was held on August 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia and played against Italian club Juventus. The match was tied 1–1 after 90 minutes and was settled in a penalty shoot-out that Juventus won 5–3.

MLS Cup 2018 2018 edition of the MLS Cup

MLS Cup 2018 was the 23rd edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS), which took place on December 8, 2018. It was the final match of the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs and was contested by Atlanta United FC and the Portland Timbers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

2018 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2018 season was the Atlanta Falcons' 53rd in the National Football League, their second playing their home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and their fourth under head coach Dan Quinn. The Falcons attempted to be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium as an expected Super Bowl contender. However the Falcons were riddled with injuries, losing 7 starters to IR with the Falcons stumbling to a 1–4 start.

The 2018 SEC Championship Game was played on Saturday, December 1, 2018, in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, to determine the 2018 football champion of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The game featured the East Division champion Georgia against the West Division champion Alabama. Georgia, the East Division Champion, was the designated home team. The game was televised by CBS for the eighteenth straight year. Alabama came back from a 21–7 halftime deficit to defeat Georgia, 35–28.

The 2018 Peach Bowl was a college football bowl game played on December 29, 2018. It was the 51st edition of the Peach Bowl, and the second Peach Bowl to be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game was one of the College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl games, and one of the 2018–19 bowl games concluding the 2018 FBS football season. Sponsored by the Chick-fil-A restaurant franchise, the game was officially known as the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

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Events and tenants
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the Atlanta Falcons
2017–present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Bobby Dodd Stadium
Home of Atlanta United FC
2017–present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Raymond James Stadium
Home of the
College Football Playoff National Championship

2018
Succeeded by
Levi's Stadium
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
2017–present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the SEC Championship Game
2017–present
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
U.S. Bank Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl LIII

2019
Succeeded by
Hard Rock Stadium
Preceded by
U.S. Bank Stadium
NCAA Men's Division I
Basketball Tournament
Finals Venue

2020
Succeeded by
Lucas Oil Stadium