Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.[15] It serves as the home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). It replaced the Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home stadium from 1992 until 2016. In 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium claimed 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]

The stadium is owned by the state government 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]

Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium logo
Mercedes Benz Stadium time lapse capture 2017-08-13
Near completion in August 2017
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located in Atlanta
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location in Atlanta
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located in Metro Atlanta
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location in the Atlanta area
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located in Georgia (U.S. state)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location in Georgia
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located in the United States
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location in the United States
Former namesNew Atlanta Stadium (Planning & construction)
Address1 AMB Drive NW
LocationAtlanta, Georgia, US
Coordinates33°45′18″N 84°24′04″W / 33.755°N 84.401°WCoordinates: 33°45′18″N 84°24′04″W / 33.755°N 84.401°W
Public transitMetropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit AuthorityVine City
Dome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center
Peachtree Center
OwnerGeorgia World Congress Center Authority[1]
OperatorAMB Sports and Entertainment Group
CapacityAmerican 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]
SurfaceFieldTurf Revolution 360 2/2 stars [8]
Construction
Broke groundMay 19, 2014[9][10]
OpenedAugust 26, 2017
Construction costUS$1.6 billion (Projected)
ArchitectHOK[11]
tvsdesign[12]
Goode Van Slyke[12]
Stanley Beaman & Sears[12]
Project managerDarden & Company [13]
Structural engineerBuroHappold Engineering/Hoberman[14]
Services engineerWSP[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

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

Overhead shot of Georgia Dome, New Falcons stadium construction site April 25, 2014
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. Friendship Baptist, the birthplace of both Spelman College and Morehouse College, was also demolished and relocated to make room for the stadium. 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 Falcons sculpture Mercedes-Benz Stadium 2017-09-19
Atlanta Falcon sculpture outside the stadium
Mercedes Benz Stadium interior 2017-08-25 1
Interior of the stadium in August 2017

Animation of the pinwheel-shaped roof opening

Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof animation 1
Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof animation 2

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 the stadium's roof to be open under light 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

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

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 Atlanta United 2018-10-21 - 17 14
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 eclipse US$700 million[68].[69]

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. The total revenue generated from PSL sales was $273 million.[70][71]

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,[72] 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 Louisiana Superdome signed in 2011.[73][74]

Total sponsorship sales for Mercedes-Benz Stadium have reached $900 million.[75]

While the stadium is owned by the state, it is operated by AMB group, the parent organization of the Falcons and Atlanta United. All operating profits of Mercedes-Benz Stadium go to AMB group and not to the state. In addition, AMB group does not currently pay any property tax on the stadium.[76]

College football

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Peach Bowl Pre-game (27654674649)
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.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79] 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.[80]

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.[81]

Soccer

  • On October 22, 2017, Atlanta United played an MLS regular season match versus Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 71,874 spectators, beating the record they set for the largest crowd in a stand-alone MLS match in September against Orlando City (which also marked the first time the roof was opened for a soccer game). Atlanta United also set the single-season record for attendance.[82]
  • On March 11, 2018, Atlanta United played an MLS regular season match versus D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 72,035 spectators, setting the record for the largest crowd in MLS history.[83]
  • On October 23, 2017, it was announced that the 2018 MLS All-Star Game would take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Italian club Juventus. It was held on August 1, 2018, and set a new record for attendance at an MLS All-Star game, with 72,317 spectators.[84][85][86]
  • On December 8, 2018, Atlanta United hosted the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup final (earning home field advantage by virtue of their regular season record over Portland). Atlanta defeated Portland 2–0, winning their first-ever MLS championship. The game initially reported a single-game attendance record for Major League Soccer, with 73,019 spectators.[87]

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.[88]

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.[89][90] Chesney's concert attracted 51,312 people and grossed $5.068 million.[91]

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.[92] Over the two sold-out nights, Taylor performed to an audience of 116,746 people and grossed $18.089 million.[93] She was the first music act to headline the stadium for two consecutive nights.[94]

Also in August 2018, Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed for two nights as part of the On the Run II Tour.[95] The two shows grossed $14.074 million and were attended by 105,170 people.[96]

Ed Sheeran performed at the venue as part of his ÷ Tour in November 2018.[97] The show was attended by 50,906 people and grossed $5.021 million.[98] This show marked the end of the 2018 leg of the tour, which was billed as the Top Tour of 2018.[99]

In March 2019, George Strait performed a one-off concert at the venue, joined by musical guests Chris Stapleton, Chris Janson, and Ashley McBryde.[100] The concert was attended by 55,255 people, and grossed $11.9 million.[101] This became the highest grossing single night concert in the venue's history, and became George Straight's third show to earn over $10 million.[102]

Other major events

  • On December 8, 2017, the stadium hosted the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) football championship games for Class 1A Private School and Class 3A. The remaining two championship games scheduled for that day, Class 5A and Class 6A, as well as the four games originally scheduled for the next day were postponed and relocated to campus sites due to a major snowstorm to hit Atlanta that weekend.[103] The 2018 GHSA football championships were held on December 11 and 12, due to Atlanta United hosting MLS Cup 2018 on December 8[104] as well as the 2018 Celebration Bowl scheduled for December 15. In May 2019, the GHSA announced that the football finals would be moved from Mercedes-Benz Stadium to Georgia State Stadium starting in 2019, citing the higher costs of renting Mercedes-Benz Stadium compared to the former Georgia Dome.[105]
  • On March 3, 2018, the stadium hosted a round of the AMA Supercross Championship, replacing the Georgia Dome which had been part of the schedule since 1993.[106]
  • On November 15, 2014, the NCAA announced Mercedes-Benz Stadium will hold the men's college basketball Final Four in 2020.[107]
  • On July 28, 2018, the stadium hosted the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship which was previously held in the Georgia Dome.[108]
  • On December 31, 2019 – January 2, 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host its first ever Passion Conferences.[109] The event is expected to be the biggest Christian conference ever held in the United States, higher than Passion's 2017 event in the Georgia Dome.

In popular culture

  • On January 4, 2018, the stadium was the subject of the premiere episode of Building Giants on Science Channel. Using footage of the construction along with CGI, the building process is explored in detail. It was noted during the episode that the heaviest truss sections were erected by the largest conventional crawler crane ever built in North America, a Manitowoc Model 31000 which is rated at a capacity of 2,535 US Tons.[110]
  • A train horn blares after every Falcons and United score and win – a nod to Atlanta's railroad history.[111][112]

See also

References

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  4. ^ "Atlanta United sets MLS attendance records for single season and game". ESPN FC. October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
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  11. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2013). "Atlanta Falcons' Stadium Concepts a Peek Into Future". National Football League. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
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  14. ^ a b Saporta, Maria (April 29, 2013). "GWCCA Committee Approves 360 Architecture for Stadium Design". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  15. ^ Tucker, Tim (August 24, 2015). "Falcons officially announce Mercedes-Benz as naming rights partner". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  16. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Stadium's video board could be a game changer". myAJC. Retrieved February 3, 2019. Called the “halo board” by everyone involved in the project, the 360-degree screen is 58 feet tall and 1,075 feet in circumference, totaling 62,350 square feet of light-emitting diodes.
  17. ^ "Officials: Mercedes-Benz Stadium cost rises to $1.6 billion". bizjournals.com. June 17, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
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External links

2017 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2017 Atlanta Falcons season was the franchise's 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.On December 13, 2017, Tommy Nobis, the first player drafted by the Falcons, died at the age of 74.Despite the Falcons failing to improve on their 11–5 record from 2016 or defend their NFC South title, the team posted its first consecutive winning seasons, consecutive 10-win seasons, and consecutive playoff berths since the 2012 season. The Falcons were the only NFC team from the 2016 playoffs to qualify for the 2017 playoffs. In the playoffs, the Falcons defeated the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card Round, but lost against the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional round.

2017 SEC Championship Game

The 2017 SEC Championship Game was played on December 2, 2017 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, and determined the 2017 football champion of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). This was the first SEC Conference football championship at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game featured the Eastern Division Champion, 2017 Georgia Bulldogs football team against the Western Division Co-Champion, the 2017 Auburn Tigers football team. This championship game was a rematch of their rivalry game, played on November 11, 2017. In that earlier game, Auburn beat Georgia by a score of 40-17. In this rematch, Georgia won the SEC Championship by beating Auburn 28-7. This game marked the first time that any permanent cross division rivals faced off in the SEC Championship Game. This was also the first SEC Championship Game with new SEC on CBS announcer Brad Nessler replacing Verne Lundquist, who retired in 2016. The game was televised nationally by CBS.

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 (the venue for Super Bowl LIII) 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.

Following a 31–17 loss to the Saints in Week 12, the Falcons fell to 4–7 and failed to improve on their 10–6 campaign from 2017. With a 34–20 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Falcons fell to 4–9 and suffered their first losing season since the 2014 season. Despite beating the Arizona Cardinals 40–14 in Week 15, the Falcons were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2015 after the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Miami Dolphins 41–17. However, they were able to end their season with a 3 game win streak to finish 7–9.

2018 Atlanta United FC season

The 2018 Atlanta United FC season was the second season of Atlanta United FC's existence, and the tenth year that a professional soccer club from Atlanta, Georgia competed in the top division of American soccer. Atlanta played their home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and were coached by Gerardo "Tata" Martino. Outside of MLS, the team participated in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup and the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs, as well as various preseason competitions.

On November 17, 2017, Atlanta United announced the launch of a reserve team, Atlanta United 2, to play in what is currently named the USL Championship at the start of the 2018 season.With a win over Chicago Fire on October 21, Atlanta qualified for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League by having the best aggregate record across the 2017 and 2018 MLS seasons. The club later qualified for the competition by winning MLS Cup 2018, so their previously-held spot was allocated to the team with the second best aggregate record, New York Red Bulls.

2018 College Football Playoff National Championship

The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship was a college football bowl game that determined a national champion in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision for the 2017 season. The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 26–23, coming back from a 13–0 deficit at halftime to secure the win in overtime. True freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and defensive tackle Daron Payne were respectively named the offensive and defensive players of the game.

The College Football Playoff selection committee chose the semifinalists following the conclusion of the 2017 regular season. Alabama and Georgia advanced to the national championship after winning the semifinal games hosted by the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl Game respectively in January 2018. The championship game was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on January 8, 2018.

2018 MLS All-Star Game

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.Josef Martínez won MVP.

The match was attended by 72,317, setting a new record for an MLS All-Star Game.

2018 MLS Cup Playoffs

The 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs (branded as the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for sponsorship reasons) began on October 31 and ended on December 8 with MLS Cup 2018, the 23rd league championship match for MLS. This was the 23rd version of the MLS Cup Playoffs, the tournament culminating the Major League Soccer regular season. Twelve teams, the top six of each conference, competed in the MLS Cup Playoffs.The first round of each conference had the third-seeded team hosting the sixth seed while the fourth-seed hosted the fifth seed in a single match to determine who advanced to the Conference Semifinals. In the Conference Semifinals, the top seed played the lowest remaining seed while the second played the next-lowest. The winners advanced to the Conference Finals. Both the Conference Semifinals and Conference Finals were played as a two-legged aggregate series. The winners advanced to the MLS Cup, a single match hosted by the participant with the better regular season record which was played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.Toronto FC were the defending MLS Cup champions, but failed to qualify for the playoffs. Atlanta United FC won their first MLS Cup title.

2019 Atlanta Falcons season

The 2019 Atlanta Falcons season will be the franchise's 54th season in the National Football League, their third playing their home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and their fifth under head coach Dan Quinn.

2019 Atlanta United FC season

The 2019 Atlanta United FC season is the third season of Atlanta United FC's existence, and the eleventh year that a professional soccer club from Atlanta, Georgia will compete in the top division of American soccer. Atlanta United play their home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Outside of MLS, the team made their first appearance in CONCACAF Champions League, is participating in the 2019 U.S. Open Cup, and will make their debut appearance in the 2019 edition of the Campeones Cup. This marks the team's first year without former head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino, who was replaced with Frank de Boer.

2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament

The 2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament is a planned single-elimination tournament of 68 teams to determine the men's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college basketball national champion for the 2019–20 season. The 82nd annual edition of the Tournament is scheduled to begin on March 17, 2020 and will conclude with the championship game on April 6 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Atlanta Falcons

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).

In their 53 years of existence (through 2018), the Falcons have compiled a record of 368–466–6 (358–452–6 in the regular season and 10–14 in the playoffs), winning division championships in 1980, 1998, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2016. The Falcons have appeared in two Super Bowls, the first during the 1998 season in Super Bowl XXXIII, where they lost to the Denver Broncos 34–19, and the second was eighteen years later, a 34–28 overtime defeat by the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

The Falcons' current home field is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which opened for the 2017 season; the team's headquarters and practice facilities are located at a fifty-acre (20 ha) site in Flowery Branch, northeast of Atlanta in Hall County.

Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders

The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders are the cheerleading squad of the Atlanta Falcons. The group performs a variety of moves during the Falcons home games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The squad debuted in 1969 as "The Falconettes". The squad currently has 40 cheerleaders. The tryouts for the squad are held annually at the Georgia World Congress Center in April, as well as the Arthur Blank Family Office. Like many other squads, the squad also makes various appearances at events throughout Atlanta. Other than the squad, fans could also hire Falcons mascot Freddie Falcon for appearances. The squad also has a "Junior Cheerleader" Program for the squad's child counterparts. The squad also releases an annual swimsuit calendar.

Atlanta United FC

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.

Founded in 2014, Atlanta United began play as an MLS expansion team in 2017, as the twenty-second team in the league. It is the first MLS franchise to be based in Atlanta, and the club plays home games at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which they share with the city's National Football League (NFL) franchise, the Atlanta Falcons. Both are owned by Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot. The club also owns Atlanta United 2, a reserve team that competes in the USL Championship (USLC).

Gerardo "Tata" Martino was appointed as the club's first head coach, and guided Atlanta to their first playoff appearance in the team's debut season, before securing the team's first trophy in just their second season by winning MLS Cup 2018.

Based on 2018 regular season attendance, Atlanta has one of the largest fanbases in MLS, and they have set several league records for highest single-match and average attendance. In 2018, Forbes estimated the franchise was the most valuable in the league, worth more than $300 million.

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.

Georgia Dome

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.The Georgia Dome was the home stadium for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Georgia State University Panthers football team. It hosted two Super Bowls (XXVIII and XXXIV), 25 editions of the Peach Bowl (January 1993 through December 2016) and 23 SEC Championship Games (1994−2016). In addition, the Georgia Dome also hosted several soccer matches since 2009 with attendances over 50,000. In its 25-year lifespan, the Georgia Dome hosted over 1,400 events attended by over 37 million people. The Georgia Dome was the only stadium in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four.At its debut in 1992, the Georgia Dome was the second-largest covered stadium in the world by capacity, behind the Pontiac Silverdome; it was also surpassed by AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Georgia World Congress Center

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) is a convention center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Enclosing some 3.9 million ft2 (360,000 m2) 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.

In addition to convention and trade shows, the GWCC often coordinated with the Georgia Dome to host activities in conjunction with major events being held at the dome. Every year, the center hosts SEC Football Fanfare, a two-day fan festival for the thousands of Southeastern Conference football fans in the city for the SEC Championship Game. The center played host to a similar event in tandem with WrestleMania XXVII, WrestleMania Axxess. Family Feud started taping at Georgia World Congress Center in 2015 and stayed there until 2018, when it moved back to Los Angeles.

The GWCC is located in downtown Atlanta at 285 Andrew Young International Boulevard NW, adjacent to CNN Center and State Farm Arena. Public transportation is serviced by the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center MARTA station. Delta Air Lines previously had a ticket office in the lobby of the complex.Though similarly named, the Georgia International Convention Center is a smaller unrelated facility located near Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

MLS Cup 2018

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.

Atlanta, in their second MLS season, qualified for the playoffs as the second seed in the Eastern Conference and defeated New York City FC and Supporters' Shield winners New York Red Bulls in the playoffs. Portland qualified as the fifth seed in the Western Conference and defeated fourth-ranked FC Dallas, second-ranked Seattle Sounders FC, and first-ranked Sporting Kansas City to qualify for their second MLS Cup final.

Atlanta United FC won the match 2–0 for their first MLS Cup, before a record attendance of 73,019 spectators. As winners, they would have qualified for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, though they had already secured a berth through an alternate qualifying process. Atlanta will host the 2019 Campeones Cup, to be contested against the winners of the Mexican Campeón de Campeones.

Major League Soccer attendance

Major League Soccer is the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. Competition began in 1996, the 2016 season saw an average 21,692 spectators between the 20 teams, the highest average attendance in league history. MLS has the third-highest average attendance among all professional sports leagues with teams in the United States, ranking behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball but ahead of the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. Among all North American professional sports leagues, MLS ranks fifth in average attendance per game behind the NFL and MLB as well as Liga MX and the Canadian Football League.

MLS attendance has grown since the early 2000s. The average attendance of 21,692 in 2016 was a 57% increase over the 13,756 average in 2000. The total attendance of 7,375,144 in 2016 is more than triple the 2,215,019 total of 2002. Similar to Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, attendance is based on the number of tickets distributed.

Tourism in Atlanta

As of 2010, Atlanta is the seventh-most visited city in the United States, with over 35 million visitors per year. The city was the 12th most popular destination for overseas visitors, who numbered 712,000 in total (2010).Atlanta's premier tourist attraction is the world's largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium, located a 20-acre (81,000 m2) site at Pemberton Place that is also home to the World of Coca-Cola and within walking distance of Centennial Olympic Park, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, State Farm Arena, the CNN Center and other downtown Atlanta tourist attractions.

Atlanta also attracts visitors with its performing arts venues, museums and historical sites, parks, cuisine, and its many festivals and events.

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
Franchise
Stadiums
Culture
Lore
Rivalries
Wild card berths (7)
Division championships (6)
Conference championships (2)
Ring of Honor
Current league affiliations
Seasons (54)
Primary
Secondary
Future
Atlanta landmarks
Championships
Semifinal bowl games
Other
Super Bowl stadiums
1960s
1970s
1980s
1990s
2000s
2010s
2020s
AFC
NFC
Current venues
Defunct venues
Temporary venues

Languages

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