Mercedes-Benz Stadium is poised to welcome another major event, as planning is well underway for the Atlanta Falcons home to host the 2020 Final Four.
Since opening as home of the Falcons and MLS’s United in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been the site of some notable events–including February’s Super Bowl. April will mark another chapter in the facility’s event history, as it will welcome the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Final Four. Organizers have been mapping out an event that requires a unique planning process, with temporary seating and a center-hung videoboard above midcourt among the major items that will have to be installed.
Notably, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is slated to host the Final Four without having previously hosted a basketball game, which NCAA officials believe is a first. Typically, Final Four venues have been required to host some basketball prior to the event, but changes to the planning process have left NCAA officials confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be ready when the time rolls around. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Pretty cool distinction, actually,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said Monday. “One more first for Atlanta.”
He said the NCAA isn’t concerned about the stadium making its hoops debut on such a high-stakes stage.
“We used to not allow a venue to host the Final Four … without hosting a (NCAA tournament) regional in a similar format,” Gavitt said. “But the process has become so highly evolved in the last few years that we are able to come in during the summer and do a ‘mini-build’ without doing a full-scale event to assure the seating system and all the elements we need for a Final Four can work in a venue.”
That exercise was done in Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the summer of 2018, according to Carl Adkins, executive director of Atlanta’s Final Four host committee.
The 2020 Final Four will begin with the semifinals on April 4, followed by the national championship on April 6. It will mark the first time that Atlanta has hosted the Final Four since the event was staged at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons’ home from 1992-2016, in 2013.
Image courtesy Mercedes-Benz Stadium.