Photo of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction site in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium Construction

Image Credit: Paul Sableman (CC BY 2.0)

The Atlanta Braves aren't the only Atlanta sports franchise having a shiny new home built. The Atlanta Falcons are leaving the aging Georgia Dome for the high tech Mercedes-Benz Stadium next door. Like Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank didn't see the Georgia Dome as being adequate for another 20 plus years of professional football. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz secures their naming rights of the stadium for 25 years from 2017 to 2042. See how the stadium's progress is coming along. 

Many Atlanta residents are infuriated that local taxes are rising to build a stadium for a team that plays in it 10 days per year on average. With construction costs estimated to run in the $1.4 billion range, taxpayers are expected to contribute more than 25% of that. It gets worse. If you're a Falcons fan that purchases season tickets every year, you will now be required to purchase a Personal Seat License or "PSL" beforehand. This means you will be required to pay X amount of dollars just to have the opportunity to purchase season tickets.  And yes, the Falcons organization is still going to make fans purchase those two preseason games to add insult to injury. A bulk of the stadium's construction will be paid for by local hotel taxes which are contributed primarily by tourists visiting Atlanta.

Many fans also asked the city and Falcons ownership why the Georgia Dome couldn't just be renovated and preserved? According to the Atlanta Falcons website, the renovations they felt the stadium needed would have exceeded $800 Million anyway. The other incentive noted by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority was to ensure that the city of Atlanta continues to attract the big names in music and other entertainment in the future. Our staff has never visited the Georgia Dome but there certainly isn't anyone in the NFL that raves about it in the media.

Exterior photo of the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

Georgia Dome

Image Credit: Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Capacity for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is expected to be in the 70,000 seat range and expandable to more than 80,000 seats for other events. It has already been announced that the SEC Football Championship will continue to be held in Atlanta in coming years and Atlanta's new Major League Soccer team will also call Mercedes-Benz Stadium home. More than 21,000 parking spots will be made available to fans on game day with three already existing MARTA stations nearby. There will be a pedestrian bridge outside of the stadium connecting it with the Vine City MARTA stop. Other features will include a unique retractable roof which can be seen in the Youtube video below. Large glass panels and windows will allow for a lot of sunlight into the stadium with breathtaking views of the downtown Atlanta skyline. Very similar to what Marlins Park offers their fans, home of Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins. 

Perhaps the most unique feature of the new stadium will be a 360 degree video board just below the roof opening. It's the first of it's kind and will also offer unique camera angles that no other NFL stadium will be able to replicate. It will be larger than the video boards at both AT&T Stadium in Dallas and NRG Stadium in Houston. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built a stadium that he thought no one else would be able to replicate back in 2009. The Falcons and Minnesota Vikings are proving that to be false with the construction of their new billion dollar homes.

Private seating and luxury suites have been a driving force in revenue for the newest stadiums and arenas in professional sports. The Falcons haven't released private seating information to the public just yet but best believe it will be extravagant.  


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