During a meeting this week, members of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority criticized how large events at Mercedes-Benz Stadium have been handled by the Atlanta Falcons.
In the short time period since its opening last August, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been used for a number of high-profile events. Along with Falcons games and matches for MLS’s Atlanta United FC, the stadium has also been put to use for the SEC Championship Game and January’s College Football Playoff National Championship.
At a meeting on Tuesday, board members of the GWCCA offered some criticisms of how the Falcons handled the championship game. In particular, officials cited long wait times to get into the stadium and clogged concourses following the conclusion of the game. Concerns were also expressed about the quality of the sound system at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and officials noted their fears that these problems could hurt the facility’s reputation at the national level. More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
GWCCA board members also strongly criticized the stadium’s sound system. Board member Phil Gingrey said the sound was inaudible from his seat during pregame ceremonies.
“You absolutely need to do a better job,” Gingrey told the Falcons officials, “because your reputation at a national level gets tainted. And it’s pretty hard to back that out as we go forward trying to attract these (events) to our great city of Atlanta. That sound system needs to be fixed – and fixed soon.”
Falcons officials acknowledged, both at Tuesday’s meeting and in previous interviews, the problems with the sound system and exiting the stadium.
Scott Jenkins, who works for the Falcons as the stadium’s general manager, called egress “probably our No. 1 issue” and said three additional sets of double doors and one overhead door will be installed in coming weeks as part of efforts to alleviate congestion leaving the building. The additional doors will open onto the outdoor plaza, called the “front porch,” at the east end of the stadium.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium has several other major events on its docket over the coming years, including this year’s MLS All-Star Game, Super Bowl LIII in February 2019, and the 2020 NCAA Mens Final Four. The facility is owned by the State of Georgia, with the GWCCA serving in an oversight capacity while the Falcons handle operations.
Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.