Although Atlanta Falcons President/CEO Rich McKay says the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is set for June 1, 2017, the team’s front office is working on a contingency plan in place to address preseason stadium needs.
Though June 1 is still the preferred opening date for the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there’s always the chance construction could slip and the stadium not be ready until September for the NFL season. This wouldn’t be the first time an NFL stadium wasn’t ready for the exhibition season — indeed, McKay went through the same sort of problem in Tampa Bay — and there are easy ways to address it, including playing the entire preseason on the road or scheduling a few at neutral sites. The University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium has a capacity of 92,746, while Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium is a more intimate venue (seating 55,000) and physically closer to Atlanta. (Indeed, a game at Sanford Stadium might not be the worst option given its marketing potential.) From ESPN.com:
“We would have options,” McKay said. “You’ve obviously got the University of Georgia. You’ve got Georgia Tech. But I wouldn’t say that we view this as … it’s not even a consideration of something we’ve looked into. We’re very confident in June 1, so we don’t view it as a problem. But we have alternatives.”
One option that’s off the table: the Georgia Dome, which is scheduled to be torn down after the last event in March 2017.
The final price tag for Mercedes-Benz Stadium is expected to be around $1.5 billion.
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