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Best of 2016: #9, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #9: The Atlanta Falcons prepare for the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Many eyes of the sports world have been turned to Atlanta this year. Not only because the Braves are working on a new facility but also because of the new, state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will be the home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC.

The numbers behind the construction have been staggering. As our Zach Spedden wrote in his Mercedes-Benz Stadium preview last November, the facility is slated to cost about $1.5 billion. There will be a 61,000 square foot plaza open to fans. There will be a videoboard that is five stories tall and will be the biggest in the NFL. The retractable roof will have eight panels that open like a camera lens and can open and/or close in eight minutes.

The facility will also be able to change stadium capacity with the allowance of mechanical curtains that can close off the upper and middle levels for smaller events and is slated to be able to hold 75,000-83,000 fans for larger events.

“We don’t want to exceed your expectations, we want to blow your mind,” said AMB Group CEO Steve Cannon at a seat installation ceremony this September. “We think the passion we’ve poured into the design will make this the best sports and entertainment experience in the world.”

And there will be plenty of chances to blow minds and show off the handiwork and craftsmanship of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will host multiple high-profile events in the coming years. Some of them include Atlanta Falcons games, Atlanta United FC games, the Peach Bowl, the College Football Playoff National Championship, the SEC Championship Game, and Super Bowl LIII. With the versatility of the stadium, it could also play host to FIFA World Cup matches and the NCAA Final Four.

Despite all of the new technology and the upgrades the facility will be receiving, special considerations have been made to make the fan experiences even better. This includes making the seats wider from 19 inches to 21 inches and lowering concession stand prices. In a May article, our own Jeff Goldberg wrote that the Falcons will have concessions as cheap as $2 for bottomless sodas, hot dogs, and popcorn with pizza slices and fries going for $3 and $5 cheeseburgers.

With construction continuing, it’s looking like fans will be able to get to experience the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium when it opens in July.

Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:

#10: Buffalo Bills’ Stadium Debate


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August Publications