|Former names||New Atlanta Stadium (working title)|
|Location||Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW
and Northside Dr NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
|Owner||Georgia World Congress Center Authority|
|Operator||Atlanta Falcons Football Club|
|Capacity||71,000 (expandable to 75,000 for Super Bowls and FIFA World Cup, 83,000 for the NCAA Final Four and other events), 29,322 (MLS configuration)|
|Broke ground||May 19, 2014|
|Opened||March 2017 (estimated)|
|Construction cost||$1.4 billion (projected)|
Goode Van Slyke
Stanley Beaman & Sears
|Project manager||ICON Venue Group|
|Structural engineer||Buro Happold/Hoberman|
|General contractor||HHRM JV (Comprising Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H. J. Russell & Co. & C. D. Moody Construction Co.)|
|Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (2017–) (planned)
Atlanta United FC (MLS) (2017–) (planned)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (2017–) (planned)
SEC Championship (NCAA) (2017–) (planned)
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the name of an under-construction retractable-roof, multi-purpose stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, that will serve as the home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). The idea of a new stadium for the team to replace the Georgia Dome, the team's home since 1992, was first reported in May 2010. News reports state that the stadium will likely open in time for the 2017 NFL season. The total cost is estimated to be as high as $1.4 billion.
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. The team was first pursuing a new stadium because of both the team's desire to play outdoors, and Falcons' team owner Arthur Blank's interest in hosting another Super Bowl. The stadium was also pursued as a possible bid for a venue of an upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous released comprehensive plans for the proposed stadium in February 2011. Populous' early cost estimate for the project was $700 million. 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.
In April 2012, Populous released a new price estimate of $947.7 million, which was significantly higher than the previous proposal of $700 million. 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. 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. Once construction is complete, the Georgia Dome would subsequently be demolished.
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. 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.
On December 10, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved, in a unanimous decision, 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 anytime in regards to the stadium's construction. Stadium location, however, is yet to be worked out; proposed locations being reported are both within walking distance of the Georgia Dome, with one site being located one-half mile north, and the other being one block directly south, at the one of the stadium's existing parking lots. 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.
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.
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. On May 21, 2013, the NFL approved a $200 million loan to the Falcons organization for the purpose of building the stadium.
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. The estimated cost of the facility is $1 billion.
Arthur Blank indicated the groundbreaking of the stadium would be conducted the last week of March 2014. 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. Instead the ground was officially broken in a ceremony led by Mayor Kasim Reed on May 19, 2014.
In a live broadcast on August 24, 2015, owner Arthur Blank announced that the new title of the stadium would be Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A new logo was also introduced. Mercedes-Benz CEO Steve Cannon 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.
The Falcons new stadium will feature 8 triangular translucent panels, that when open will create the illusion of a birds 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.
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-foot-by-1,100-foot 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 plans to install more than 20,000 square feet of other LED boards, including field-level advertising boards for soccer games.
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.
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.
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 limits the capacity to about 29,000 and makes the stadium feel more intimate.
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 $1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost $1 billion, then rose to $1.2 billion in October 2013.
The city has agreed to contribute $200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues and with the state of Georgia contributing $40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near $600 million.
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.
On August 21, 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mercedes-Benz would acquire the naming rights to the New Atlanta 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. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon 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.
- In April 2014, the Peach Bowl, one of the six rotating semifinal sites for the College Football Playoff, announced it would bid to host the national championship game upon the stadium's completion.
- On November 15, 2014, the NCAA announced New Atlanta Stadium will hold the men's college basketball Final Four in 2020.
- On July 9, 2015, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl announced the stadium would host the college football Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Saturday, September 2, 2017, featuring the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida State Seminoles.
- On July 20, 2015, it was announced the stadium would feature a second 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a matchup scheduled for Monday, September 4, between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Tennessee Volunteers.
- 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.
- Tucker, Tim (November 14, 2013). "Comparing Braves, Falcons Stadium Deals". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "WATCH: Video Shows How New Atlanta Stadium Will Transform into Home of 2017 Expansion Team". Major League Soccer. April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
- Tucker, Tim (May 15, 2014). "Falcons Set Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Monday". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
- Tucker, Tim (May 19, 2014). "At Stadium Groundbreaking, Blank Lobbies for a Super Bowl". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
- Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2013). "Atlanta Falcons' Stadium Concepts a Peek Into Future". National Football League. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- "Atlanta Falcons Move to Next Stages of Stadium Design Project" (Press release). Atlanta Falcons. June 18, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "New Atlanta Stadium". ICON Venue Group. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Saporta, Maria (April 29, 2013). "GWCCA Committee Approves 360 Architecture for Stadium Design". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Tucker, Tim. Falcons officially announce Mercedes-Benz as naming rights partner. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. August 24, 2015.
- Tucker, Tim (December 2, 2014). "Falcons stadium cost goes up again — to $1.4 billion". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "New Falcons stadium now to cost $1.4 billion". Washington Times. Associated Press. December 2, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "McKay: Hope New Stadium by 2015". ESPN. May 21, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Ledbetter, D. Orlando; Stafford, Leon (May 19, 2010). "Falcons Prefer New Open-Air Stadium, Downtown". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Trubey, J. Scott; Saporta, Maria, Maria (May 19, 2010). "Falcons Want Open Air Stadium North of GWCC". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Roger Goodell: Atlanta Needs New Stadium to Host Super Bowl Again". USA Today. Associated Press. November 11, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Master Plan Phase III – New Open Air NFL Stadium" (PDF). Populous. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon; Ledbetter, D. Orlando; McWilliams, Jeremiah (February 22, 2011). "Falcons' Push for Open-Air Stadium Gets Lift". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon; Tucker, Tim (April 27, 2012). "New Falcons Stadium Cost Could Exceed $1 billion". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon; Tucker, Tim (April 25, 2012). "New Stadium Plan: Retractable Roof, Demolish Dome". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
- "Atlanta Falcons seeking $1 billion retractable-roof stadium". Fox News (NewsCorp). April 26, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon (May 26, 2012). "Neighbors of Potential New Stadium Seek Voice". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon; Tucker, Tim (August 24, 2012). "Stadium Deal Could Be Done by End of Year". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- McWilliams, Jeremiah; Tucker, Tim (September 10, 2012). "Reed: Work Around New Falcons Stadium Could Boost Cost to $1.2 Billion". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
- Stafford, Leon (December 10, 2012). "GWCCA Approves Falcons Stadium Blueprint". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Tierney, Mike (December 15, 2012). "Falcons Seek New Dome, Not Atlanta Fixer-Upper". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- McWilliams, Jeremiah (January 10, 2013). "Mayor Reed confident Atlanta will get new stadium". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- Suggs, Ernie; Tucker, Tim (March 19, 2013). "Atlanta council clears stadium plan". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
- Wilner, Barry (May 21, 2013). "Falcons get $200 million NFL loan for stadium". Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Farrar, Doug (June 18, 2013). "Falcons have initial approval to go forward with futuristic stadium design". Shutdown Corner (Yahoo! Sports). Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- Saporta, Maria (October 14, 2013). "Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Said New $1 Billion Stadium Development Is ‘in a Geally Good Place’". Saporta Report. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Caldwell, Carla (October 14, 2013). "Blank: Falcons Stadium Groundbreaking Week of March 31". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Blank: Falcons Stadium Groundbreaking Week of March 31". Atlanta Falcons. October 16, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Shapiro, Jonathan (April 10, 2014). "Judge Hears Arguments In Legal Challenge Of Falcons Stadium Financing". WABE (Atlanta). Retrieved May 14, 2014.
- Tucker, Tim (May 19, 2014). "At stadium groundbreaking, Blank lobbies for a Super Bowl". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- Stafford, Diane (August 19, 2014). "HOK Will Acquire Kansas City-Based 360 Architecture". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
- Newcomb, Tim (April 16, 2014). "MLS in Atlanta: The $1.2 Billion Stadium Blank’s New Team Will Share with the Falcons". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
- Tucker, Tim (June 21, 2014). "Falcons, Braves Stadium Designs Advance". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
- Tucker, Tim (January 30, 2015). "Falcons Hire Firm to Build NFL’s Largest Video Board". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- Straus, Brian (April 18, 2014). "Former Crew GM, Current Falcons VP Confident Blank, MLS Will Be Fruitful Combo". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
- Saporta, Maria; Wenk, Amy (December 2, 2014). "Atlanta Falcons stadium's Cost Will 'rise up' to $1.4 Billion". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- deMause, Neil (March 18, 2013). "Falcons Stadium Cost to Taxpayers, Counting Hidden Subsidies: $554 Million". Field of Schemes. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- deMause, Neil (January 20, 2015). "Falcons Stadium Subsidy Nearing $600m Thanks to State-Funded Parking Garage". Field of Schemes. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- "Falcons Announce Controversial Ticket Pricing for New Stadium". WSB (Atlanta). January 8, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- Tucker, Tim. "Falcons officially announce Mercedes-Benz as naming rights partner". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- Cooper, Sam (April 21, 2014). "Chick-fil-A Bowl Adds Peach Back to Its Name, Will Be One of Six Semifinal Sites for College Football Playoff". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- Tucker, Tim (November 14, 2014). "Atlanta Lands Final Four in 2020". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
- "Clash of the Titans". chick-fil-akickoffgame.com. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- Hinnen, Jerry. "Georgia Tech, Tennessee to meet in 2017 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff". CBS Sports. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- "SEC Championship Game to remain in Atlanta until 2027". ESPN. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Official website
- Construction cam
- New Stadium Project (NSP)
- Master Plan Phase III – New Open Air NFL Stadium
|Home of the Atlanta Falcons
|Home of Atlanta United FC
|Home of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl
|Home of the SEC Championship Game
U.S. Bank Stadium
|NCAA Men's Division I
Lucas Oil Stadium