For football, the year 2017 was a memorable one when it came to the opening of new or renovated stadiums. Both the NFL and NCAA were a major part of this trend, giving the sport some new facilities at both the professional and collegiate level.
At the college ranks, perhaps the two most notable venue developments were the openings of Colorado State Stadium and Georgia State Stadium. Colorado State rolled out a brand-new stadium that was built as part of a $220-million project, resulting in a year that saw success for the football program in boosting attendance.
At Georgia State, the path was a bit different, as the school converted the former Turner Field—home to MLB’s Atlanta Braves from 1997-2016—into a football stadium. That project was part of a larger plan that should unfold over the next several years, and lead to new development that helps to better connect the stadium and the surrounding area to downtown Atlanta.
There were also numerous renovations on the college level this year, with perhaps the most high-profile being the work completed at Notre Dame Stadium. This year, the venerable facility received its first videoboard and was equipped with several other upgrades—including enhanced Wi-Fi, seating improvements, and upgrades to the concourse.
In addition, Coastal Carolina University unveiled the first phase of its expansion to Brooks Stadium. As part of that process, CCU expanded the stadium from 9,214 to roughly 15,500 seats, with an additional round of expansion expected to boost the venue’s capacity above 20,000 in 2018.
Around the NFL, there was a wide range of renovation projects. Facilities such as Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, Carolina’s Bank of America Stadium, and Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium received more touches from their ongoing renovations, while M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore kicked off its first phase of improvements that will take place over the next several years.
Two of the more high-profile renovations were those to Detroit’s Ford Field and Jacksonville’s EverBank Field. In the case of Ford Field, the Lions completed $100 million worth of improvements that included upgrades to club areas and new video displays. The Jaguars, meanwhile, continued to enhance the versatility of their facilities by opening Daily’s Place—an amphitheater that has been deemed a success since debuting in May.
Of course, the biggest stadium development in the NFL—and arguably in all of football for that matter—was the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The new home of the Atlanta Falcons was the subject of significant hype leading up to its August debut and went on to open to acclaim, with many noting its advanced technology features.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also positioned to be the site of many high-profile events in the coming years, including January’s College Football National Championship and Super Bowl LIII in February 2019.
With the developments at both the college and NFL ranks, 2017 has gone down as a memorable year when it comes to facilities, thanks to the mix of renovations and stadium openings.
Image of Mercedes-Benz Stadium courtesy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
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