We end 2017 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, #1: Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens for the Atlanta Falcons.
After years of hype and anticipation for its completion, Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened its doors in 2017. While the stadium’s scheduled debut was pushed back a few times during the construction process, it was ready for the Falcons’ full 2017 slate and made a strong impression in two sports.
At various points in 2017, there was uncertainty about when Mercedes-Benz Stadium would open. While it was at one point anticipated that a July 30 opening for a Atlanta United FC MLS match was possible, it was confirmed in April that the stadium’s first event would not be held until August.
This forced some scheduling changes for United FC—which ultimately did not debut at Mercedes-Benz Stadium until September—but the Falcons were able to proceed with their previously planned schedule. The first preseason game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium took place on August 26, with the Falcons taking on the Arizona Cardinals. Another preseason game would follow, before the Falcons played in their regular-season debut at the facility on September 17. The Falcons made the first regular-season NFL game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium a success, defeating the Green Bay Packers 34-23.
Since its opening, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s design has been notable in several areas. The facility has been noted in its technology offerings, including a 360-degree halo board video display and state-of-the-art WiFi network.
It has also earned high marks when it comes to sustainability. This fall, it was announced that Mercedes-Benz Stadium was the first professional sports stadium to earn LEED Platinum Certification.
Going forward, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has plenty of high-profile events on its docket. The upcoming College Football Playoff National Championship will be played at the stadium on January 8, while the MLS will stage its All-Star Game there next August. Perhaps the biggest game on Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s schedule, however, will be in February 2019, when it hosts Super Bowl LIII. That will be the first Super Bowl to be played in Atlanta since Super Bowl XXXIV was hosted by the Georgia Dome in 2000.
The big games down the road will boost Mercedes-Benz’s profile on the national stage. In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has attracted plenty of attention since its opening and was certainly one of the biggest stadium developments in all of sports over the past year.
Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List:
#2: Oakland Raiders Approved for Las Vegas Move
#3: Notre Dame Stadium Renovations
#4: SDSU Launches its New Stadium Pitch
#5: New Los Angeles Stadium Opening Delayed
#6: NFL Stadium Renovations
#7: Colorado State Stadium Opens
#8: The Los Angeles Chargers
#9: The Opening of Daily’s Place
#10: The Georgia Dome Closes