Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium logo.svg
Mercedes Benz Stadium time lapse capture 2017-08-13.jpg
Near completion in August 2017
Former names New Atlanta Stadium (planning/construction)
Address 1 AMB Drive NW
Location Atlanta, Georgia
Coordinates 33°45?18?N 84°24?04?W / 33.755°N 84.401°W / 33.755; -84.401Coordinates: 33°45?18?N 84°24?04?W / 33.755°N 84.401°W / 33.755; -84.401
Public transit Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Vine City
Dome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center
Owner Georgia World Congress Center Authority[1]
Operator Atlanta Falcons[1]
Capacity Football: 71,000
(expandable to 83,000)
Soccer: 42,500
(expandable to 71,000)[2][3]
Field size

Football: 120 yd × 53.333 yd (109.7 m × 48.8 m)[4]

Soccer: 115 yd × 75 yd (105 m × 69 m)[5]
Surface FieldTurf Revolution 360[6]
Construction
Broke ground May 19, 2014[7][8]
Opened August 26, 2017
Construction cost $1.6 billion (projected)
Architect HOK[9]
tvsdesign[10]
Goode Van Slyke[10]
Stanley Beaman & Sears[10]
Project manager Darden & Company [11]
Structural engineer BuroHappold Engineering/Hoberman[12]
Services engineer WSP[12]
General contractor HHRM JV (Comprising Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H. J. Russell & Co. & C. D. Moody Construction Co.)[10]
Tenants
Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (2017-present)
Atlanta United FC (MLS) (2017-present)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (2017-present)
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) (2017-present)
Website
MercedesBenzStadium.com

Mercedes-Benz Stadium[13] is a multi-purpose retractable roof stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia. The home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), it replaced the adjacent Georgia Dome, the Falcons' home stadium for a quarter century, from 1992 through 2016.

Opened in 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is owned by the state of Georgia through the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and operated by AMB Group, the parent organization of the Falcons and Atlanta United. The total cost is estimated at $1.6 billion, as of June 2016.[14] The stadium officially opened on August 26 with a Falcons preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite the retractable roof system being

Proposal timeline

2010

In May 2010, it was reported by multiple news outlets that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in demolishing the Georgia Dome and replacing it with a newly constructed open-air stadium.[17][18][19] The team was pursuing a new stadium because of the team's desire to play outdoors, as well as Falcons team owner Arthur Blank's interest in hosting another Super Bowl.[18] The stadium was also pursued as a possible bid for a venue of an upcoming FIFA World Cup.[20]

2011

Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous released comprehensive plans for the proposed stadium in February 2011.[21] Populous' early cost estimate for the project was $700 million.[22] According to the master plan, the stadium would have a maximum capacity of 71,000, but can expand to 75,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl. It will also feature multiple club levels, suites and exhibition area.[21]

2012

In April 2012, Populous released a new price estimate of $947.7 million, which was significantly higher than the previous proposal of $700 million.[23] In April 2012, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that if a deal is reached, the new stadium's construction would be expected to begin in 2014, with the Falcons to begin regular-season play in 2017.[24][25] The proposed location of the new stadium is a large parking lot in Atlanta's Vine City neighborhood, which is less than a mile north of the Georgia Dome's current location.[26] Once construction is complete, the Georgia Dome would subsequently be demolished.[25]

On August 24, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an official deal could be reached on the construction of a new stadium by the end of 2012.[27] They also reported on September 10 that Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said site improvements could likely bump the total cost to $1.2 billion; however, that does not increase the actual building cost, which still remains at an estimated $948 million.[28]

On December 10, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, in a unanimous decision, approved the blueprint and most of the agreement terms for the new stadium plans. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, the term sheet is non-binding and changes could be made at any time as regards stadium construction. Stadium location, however, is yet to be worked out; proposed locations being reported are within walking distance of the Georgia Dome, with one site located one-half mile north, and the other one block directly south, at the one of the stadium's existing parking lots.[29] The project made national headlines for the first time in 2012 on December 15, with team owner Arthur Blank stating in The New York Times that he would rather a new stadium be constructed than a "remodeling job" of the Georgia Dome.[30]

2013

During a January 10, 2013 press conference, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed expressed his optimism and confidence in the construction of the new stadium; he also mentioned the possibility of the new stadium helping the city compete for its first Major League Soccer team.[31]

Aerial photo showing land next to Georgia Dome cleared for construction of the new stadium.

On March 7, 2013, the Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta agreed to build the new downtown stadium. The maximum public contribution for the project is $200 million, coming from the hotel-motel tax in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County. The Atlanta City Council officially approved the stadium on March 19, 2013. The council voted, 11-4, in favor of the use of city hotel-motel taxes to pay $200 million toward construction costs and potentially several times that toward costs of financing, maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050.[32] On May 21, 2013, the NFL approved a $200 million loan to the Falcons organization for the purpose of building the stadium.[33]

On June 18, 2013, it was announced that the Falcons have completed a full conceptual design of the proposed new stadium, and that they have secured the initial approval to proceed with the schematic design phase. According to Doug Farrar's Shutdown Corner, "The stadium will seat approximately 70,000 people, with 180 luxury suites and 7,500 club seats." The main agency involved will be 360 Architecture, partnered with three other architectural firms.[34]

2014

Arthur Blank indicated the groundbreaking of the stadium would be conducted the last week of March 2014.[35][36][37] Just after Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive was closed permanently, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church held its last Sunday service on March 9 before the historic church was demolished. Due to legal issues surrounding the issuing of bonds, the stadium did not break ground in March 2014.[38] Instead the ground was officially broken in a ceremony led by Mayor Kasim Reed on May 19, 2014.[39]

2015

Construction site in November, 2015.

In a live broadcast on August 24, 2015, owner Arthur Blank announced that the new title of the stadium would be Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As the New Orleans Saints, the Falcons' archrivals in the NFC South, play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, this gave the division two stadiums that were sponsored by the same company. A new logo was also introduced. Steve Cannon, then CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, also spoke at the event about the company's corporate move from New Jersey to Atlanta. Other speakers included Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Design

Interior of the stadium in August 2017
Animation of the pinwheel-shaped roof opening

The winning design, submitted by HOK,[40] featured an eight-panel retractable roof that resembled a pinwheel, and a glass wall that would open with the roof to allow in fresh air.[41]

The roof design included eight triangular translucent panels, that when opened would create the illusion of a bird's wings extended. Surrounding the opening of the roof would be a halo video board that would enclose the playing surface, stretching from one of the 10-yard lines to the other and then curving around the end zones to complete the oval.[42] Each of the eight panels operates on two parallel rails; one rail is responsible for moving the panel while the other rail stabilizes the panel.[16]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the hiring of Daktronics, a South Dakota-based firm, to build the stadium's electronics display. The announced features included a circular 58-by-1,100-foot (18 by 335 m) circular LED board that would ring the opening of the stadium's roof, and would be "three times as large as the current largest single display board in the NFL" installed at EverBank Field in Jacksonville (also built by Daktronics). In addition, the company installed more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of other LED boards, including field-level advertising boards for soccer games.[43]

The design included a 100-yard bar that would stretch the length of the football field in the upper concourse, along with a fantasy football lounge and premium club seating at field level, behind the teams' benches.[44]

The stadium also incorporated contemporary art into its interior and exterior design, with over 180 specially commissioned works, including pieces by Nari Ward, Hank Willis Thomas, and Steven and William Ladd. The centerpiece of the art collection was to be Gábor Miklós Sz?ke's steel sculpture "Rise Up," which the artist claimed would be the largest freestanding bird sculpture in the world. The falcon, perched atop a 13-foot-tall bronze football, is 41 feet high, with a wingspan of 70 feet. The over-73,000-pound artwork, stands in front of the stadium, and as tall as a four-story building. [45]

Architect Bill Johnson said the circular opening in the roof was inspired by the Roman Pantheon ("Pantheon" was also the working name for the building design). The roof was designed to be made of a clear, lightweight polymer material that can adjust its opacity to control light, and much of the exterior will be clear polymer or glass to allow views to the outside. The middle concourse and upper bowl were eliminated in the east end zone to allow for an unobstructed view of the Atlanta skyline.[41]

Atlanta United FC General Manager Jim Smith said the design had "soccer in mind from the very beginning", pointing to the retracting lower bowl seats to widen the field, and mechanized curtains that limit the capacity to about 42,500 and make the stadium feel more intimate.[46]

The stadium features a Chick-fil-A location, a business that famously closes on Sundays, despite its main tenant, the Falcons, playing most of their home games on Sundays. The location opens when the Falcons have a Monday night or Thursday night home game, as well as non-Sunday home games of Atlanta United FC and other events at the stadium. On Sundays, the digital signs will be flipped and concessionaire Levy Restaurants will sell non-branded food and drinks at the location[47]

Construction delays

Mercedes-Benz Stadium's projected opening date was delayed three times due to the complexity of the eight-panel retractable roof. The stadium was originally intended to open on March 1, 2017; however, the opening date was later delayed to June 1, 2017, then to July 30, 2017, and then to August 26, 2017. Steve Cannon, CEO of the Atlanta Falcons' parent company AMB Group, stated that the Falcons' preseason schedule and the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Games would not be affected by the new opening date; however, three of Atlanta United's matches would be affected. The July 30 game against Orlando City SC was moved to Atlanta United's interim home of Bobby Dodd Stadium for July 29 while two home matches scheduled in August were moved to later dates. Additionally, the Georgia Dome's demolition was put on hold until the new stadium's certificate of occupancy could be issued.[15] On June 9, 2017, stadium officials announced that they were confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would open as scheduled, and the decommissioning process for the Georgia Dome had resumed, with the Dome scheduled for implosion on November 20, 2017.[48]

On July 25, 2017, stadium officials reported that the roof would be in the closed position during the Falcons' preseason games and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games while contractors continue to fine tune the roof to allow all eight panels to work in sync. Falcons' President Rich McKay also stated that the roof would remain closed whenever outside temperatures exceed 80 °F (27 °C).[49] On August 16, 2017, Atlanta's local NBC affiliate WXIA reported that construction of the retractable roof system was intentionally delayed by stadium and construction officials to ensure the roof's long term operability and to ensure that other parts of the stadium would be completed on time.[50] On September 10, 2017, the Falcons announced that, contrary to earlier plans, the stadium roof would in fact be open during the Falcon's home opener on September 17 against the Green Bay Packers if weather permitted.[51]

Costs and funding

In December 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center's board of governors approved a resolution to raise the cost of the stadium to $1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost $1 billion, then rose to $1.2 billion in October 2013.[52]

The city has agreed to contribute $200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues[53] and with the state of Georgia contributing $40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near $600 million.[54]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the sale of personal seat licenses (PSL) costing up to $45,000 per seat, depending on the section of the stadium. The most expensive tickets is priced at $385 per game, in addition to one-time PSL fees, for the first three years.[55]

On August 21, 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mercedes-Benz would acquire the naming rights for the stadium, and this was later confirmed by a press conference at the stadium site on August 24. Under the stadium deal with the city of Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the Falcons organization controls the stadium's naming rights and receives all related revenue. Then-Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon, who would subsequently join the Falcons' organization in 2016 as CEO of AMB Group,[56] stated that the sponsorship would last 27 years, calling it the largest marketing deal in Mercedes-Benz' history, but Cannon would not disclose the full value of the deal. Mercedes-Benz also holds a 10-year naming rights contract for the former Louisiana Superdome signed in 2011.[57]

Events

College sports

Other major events

  • On May 24, 2016, the NFL announced that the stadium would host Super Bowl LIII in 2019.[64]
  • On June 22, 2017, Garth Brooks was announced as the venue's inaugural musical performer. He will perform at the stadium on October 12, 2017.[65]
  • On September 16, 2017, Atlanta United played an MLS regular season match versus Orlando City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 70,425 spectators, the largest crowd in a stand-alone MLS match.[66]
  • On March 3, 2018, the stadium will host a round of the AMA Supercross Championship, replacing the Georgia Dome which had been part of the schedule since 1993.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Tucker, Tim (November 14, 2013). "Comparing Braves, Falcons Stadium Deals". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ https://www.atlutd.com/post/2017/07/14/atlanta-united-single-match-tickets-go-sale-mercedes-benz-stadium
  3. ^ Roberson, Doug (2017-09-07). "Atlanta United hopes fan bring the noise to Mercedes-Benz Stadium". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  4. ^ Haley, Andy. "Football Field Dimensions and Goal Post Sizes: A Quick Guide". Stack.com. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ de los Rios, Gabriel; Calderon, Rudy. "All 22 MLS stadiums for the 2017 season". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Stadium Will Have FieldTurf". Atlanta Falcons. Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Tim (May 15, 2014). "Falcons Set Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Monday". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2014. 
  8. ^ Tucker, Tim (May 19, 2014). "At Stadium Groundbreaking, Blank Lobbies for a Super Bowl". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2014. 
  9. ^ Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2013). "Atlanta Falcons' Stadium Concepts a Peek Into Future". National Football League. Retrieved 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Atlanta Falcons Move to Next Stages of Stadium Design Project" (Press release). Atlanta Falcons. June 18, 2013. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Stadium". Darden & Company, LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Saporta, Maria (April 29, 2013). "GWCCA Committee Approves 360 Architecture for Stadium Design". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2014. 
  13. ^ Tucker, Tim (August 24, 2015). "Falcons officially announce Mercedes-Benz as naming rights partner". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  14. ^ "Officials: Mercedes-Benz Stadium cost rises to $1.6 billion". June 17, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Tucker, Tim. "Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening is pushed back again". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2017. 
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  17. ^ "McKay: Hope New Stadium by 2015". ESPN. May 21, 2010. Retrieved 2012. 
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  19. ^ Trubey, J. Scott; Saporta, Maria, Maria (May 19, 2010). "Falcons Want Open Air Stadium North of GWCC". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2012. 
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  45. ^ https://news.artnet.com/art-world/atlanta-falcons-mercedes-benz-stadium-1041056
  46. ^ Straus, Brian (April 18, 2014). "Former Crew GM, Current Falcons VP Confident Blank, MLS Will Be Fruitful Combo". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on April 23, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
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  54. ^ deMause, Neil (January 20, 2015). "Falcons Stadium Subsidy Nearing $600m Thanks to State-Funded Parking Garage". Field of Schemes. Retrieved 2015. 
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  56. ^ "Cannon Named CEO of AMB Group". Atlanta Falcons. Retrieved 2017. 
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  58. ^ Cooper, Sam (April 21, 2014). "Chick-fil-A Bowl Adds Peach Back to Its Name, Will Be One of Six Semifinal Sites for College Football Playoff". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2015. 
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  60. ^ "Clash of the Titans". chick-fil-akickoffgame.com. Retrieved 2015. 
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  64. ^ "NFL Announces Super Bowl LIII, LIV, and LV.". CBS Sports. Retrieved 2016. 
  65. ^ "Garth Brooks Tapped to be First Show at New Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta". Retrieved . 
  66. ^ Record crowd sees Atlanta's 3-3 draw with Orlando - Daily Herald / Associated Press, 16 September 2017

External links


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