Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium logo.svg
Atlanta August 2016 31 (Mercedes-Benz Stadium).jpg
The stadium under construction in August 2016
Former names New Atlanta Stadium
Address 441 Martin Luther King Jr Dr NW
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°45′19.30″N 84°24′4.29″W / 33.7553611°N 84.4011917°W / 33.7553611; -84.4011917Coordinates: 33°45′19.30″N 84°24′4.29″W / 33.7553611°N 84.4011917°W / 33.7553611; -84.4011917
Owner Georgia World Congress Center Authority[1]
Operator Atlanta Falcons[1]
Capacity 71,000 (football)
expandable to 83,000
42,500 (soccer)[2]
Field size

Soccer: 115 yd × 75 yd (105 m × 69 m)[3]

Football: 120 yd × 53.333 yd (109.7 m × 48.8 m)[4]
Surface FieldTurf Revolution 360[5]
Broke ground May 19, 2014[6][7]
Construction cost $1.6 billion (projected)
Architect HOK[8]
Goode Van Slyke[9]
Stanley Beaman & Sears[9]
Project manager Darden & Company [10]
Structural engineer BuroHappold Engineering/Hoberman[11]
Services engineer WSP[11]
General contractor HHRM JV (Comprising Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H. J. Russell & Co. & C. D. Moody Construction Co.)[9]
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (2017–present)
Atlanta United FC (MLS) (2017–present)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (2017–present)
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) (2017–present)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium[12] is a multi-purpose retractable roof stadium under construction in Atlanta, Georgia that will serve as the home of Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). It is intended to replace the Georgia Dome, which served as the Falcons' home stadium from the 1992 NFL season until the 2016 season. The total cost is estimated at $1.6 billion, as of June 2016.[13] The stadium is scheduled to open on August 26, 2017, with a Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals[14] and is scheduled to host Super Bowl LIII in 2019.

Proposal timeline[edit]


In May 2010, it was reported by multiple news outlets that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in demolishing the Georgia Dome and replacing it with a newly constructed open-air stadium.[15][16][17] 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.[16] The stadium was also pursued as a possible bid for a venue of an upcoming FIFA World Cup.[18]


Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous released comprehensive plans for the proposed stadium in February 2011.[19] Populous' early cost estimate for the project was $700 million.[20] 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.[19]


In April 2012, Populous released a new price estimate of $947.7 million, which was significantly higher than the previous proposal of $700 million.[21] 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.[22][23] 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.[24] Once construction is complete, the Georgia Dome would subsequently be demolished.[23]

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.[25] They also reported on September 10 that Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said site improvements could likely bump the total cost to $1.2 billion; however, that does not increase the actual building cost, which still remains at an estimated $948 million.[26]

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.[27] 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 a new stadium be constructed than a "remodeling job" of the Georgia Dome.[28]


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.[29]

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 $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 $200 million toward construction costs and potentially several times that toward costs of financing, maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050.[30] On May 21, 2013, the NFL approved a $200 million loan to the Falcons organization for the purpose of building the stadium.[31]

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.[32]


Arthur Blank indicated the groundbreaking of the stadium would be conducted the last week of March 2014.[33][34][35] 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.[36] Instead the ground was officially broken in a ceremony led by Mayor Kasim Reed on May 19, 2014.[37]


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.


Animation showing the operation of the pinwheel-shaped roof

The winning design, submitted by HOK,[38] features an eight-panel retractable roof that resembles a pinwheel, and a glass wall that opens with the roof, to allow in fresh air.[39]

The roof design includes eight triangular translucent panels, that when open will create the illusion of a bird's wings extended. Surrounding the opening of the roof will be a halo video board that will 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.[40]

Artist's rendering showing the ring of LED screen in action

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 include a circular 58-by-1,100-foot (18 by 335 m) circular LED board that will ring the opening of the stadium's roof, and will 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 plans to install more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of other LED boards, including field-level advertising boards for soccer games.[41]

The venue will include a 100-yard bar that will 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.[42]

The mechanical curtains close off the upper bowl from the rest of the stadium for lower-capacity Atlanta United FC matches.

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.[39]

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 40,000 and make the stadium feel more intimate.[43]

Construction delays[edit]

Mercedes-Benz Stadium's projected opening date has been 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 had since been delayed to June 1, 2017, then to July 30, 2017, and presently 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, plans to demolish the Georgia Dome were put on hold until the new stadium's certificate of occupancy could be issued.[14] On June 9, 2017, stadium officials announced that they were confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will open as currently scheduled, and the decommissioning process for the Georgia Dome has resumed, with the older stadium scheduled for implosion on November 20, 2017.[44]

Costs and funding[edit]

In December 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center's board of governors approved a resolution to raise the cost of the stadium to $1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost $1 billion, then rose to $1.2 billion in October 2013.[45]

The city has agreed to contribute $200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues[46] and with the state of Georgia contributing $40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near $600 million.[47]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the sale of personal seat licenses (PSL) costing up to $45,000 per seat, depending on the section of the stadium. The most expensive tickets will be priced at $385 per game, in addition to one-time PSL fees, for the first three years.[48]

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,[49] 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. Mercedes-Benz also holds a 10-year naming rights contract for the former Louisiana Superdome signed in 2011.[50]


College sports[edit]

Other major events[edit]

  • On May 24, 2016, the NFL announced that the stadium would host Super Bowl LIII in 2019.[57]
  • On June 22, 2017, Garth Brooks was announced as the venue's inaugural musical performer. He will perform at the stadium on October 12, 2017.[58]
  • On March 3, 2018, the stadium will host a round of the AMA Supercross Championship, replacing the Georgia Dome which had been part of the schedule since 1993.

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ de los Rios, Gabriel; Calderon, Rudy. "All 22 MLS stadiums for the 2017 season". Major League Soccer. Retrieved March 4, 2017. 
  4. ^ Haley, Andy. "Football Field Dimensions and Goal Post Sizes: A Quick Guide". Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Stadium Will Have FieldTurf". Atlanta Falcons. Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Tucker, Tim (May 15, 2014). "Falcons Set Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Monday". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Tim (May 19, 2014). "At Stadium Groundbreaking, Blank Lobbies for a Super Bowl". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  8. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2013). "Atlanta Falcons' Stadium Concepts a Peek Into Future". National Football League. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Atlanta Falcons Move to Next Stages of Stadium Design Project" (Press release). Atlanta Falcons. June 18, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Stadium". Darden & Company, LLC. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Saporta, Maria (April 29, 2013). "GWCCA Committee Approves 360 Architecture for Stadium Design". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Tucker, Tim (August 24, 2015). "Falcons officially announce Mercedes-Benz as naming rights partner". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  13. ^ "Officials: Mercedes-Benz Stadium cost rises to $1.6 billion". June 17, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b Tucker, Tim. "Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening is pushed back again". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
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  16. ^ a b Ledbetter, D. Orlando; Stafford, Leon (May 19, 2010). "Falcons Prefer New Open-Air Stadium, Downtown". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
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  58. ^ "Garth Brooks Tapped to be First Show at New Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the Atlanta Falcons
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Bobby Dodd Stadium
Home of Atlanta United FC
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Raymond James Stadium
Home of the
College Football Playoff National Championship

Succeeded by
Levi's Stadium
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Georgia Dome
Home of the SEC Championship Game
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. Bank Stadium
Host of
Super Bowl LIII

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

Succeeded by
Lucas Oil Stadium