Mercedes-Benz Stadium is Atlanta's newest monument to sports, events and entertainment, ushering in a new era for the city's ranking as a top travel destination for leisure, business and so much more. We took a behind-the-scenes tour of the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, exploring everything from delicious dining and technology to awe-inspiring art and fan amenities.
Making one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the world was no easy task, but the brains behind Mercedes-Benz Stadium rose to the occasion. By filling the stadium with more than 2,000 television screens, boundless WiFi hot spots, a mobile app and a state-of-the-art audio system, planners made sure that fans will be connected to the game or event at hand no matter where they are.
The pinnacle has got to be the first of its kind halo LED display hovering in the middle of the stadium and the 101-foot high mega column. The massive halo display is a technological marvel encompassing almost 62,000 square feet of real estate to keep fans in the know on facts ranging from scores to sports happenings, statistics and information around the league. And let's not forget about the retractable iris rooftop that will convert Mercedes-Benz Stadium into an open-air facility in the blink of an eye. Simply amazing.
FOOD & DRINK
Delicious eats and thirst-quenching drinks are top of mind in satisfying fan hunger at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It's the first major sports facility to offer "Fan First Pricing," putting tasty bites in your stomach with all items costing less than $10. Wow!
Going a step further is the cadre of specialty food selections from Atlanta's hottest chefs and restaurant concepts: Gamechanger (from Gunshow and Revival's Kevin Gillespie), Molly B's, Golden Brown & Delicious and TexMex-A-Que as well as city mainstays like Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Delia's Chicken Sausage Stand, Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q, Farm Burger and much, much more.
While the world will expect all the bells and whistles from what's sure to be an unparalleled sports and entertainment venue, the unexpected is sure to be the stadium's curated art collection. Partnering with Savannah College of Art and Design, the stadium curated and commissioned preeminent works from artists both locally and internationally to explore stories of football, soccer, Georgia history and culture, and the Atlanta community through unique mediums throughout. One of the most striking is the 42-foot-tall falcon perched atop a football from Budapest sculptor Gábor Miklós Szőke. The piece, "Rise Up," is the largest freestanding bird sculpture in the world.
Atlanta United fans should be ready to scream, "GOALLLL!" when passing under this etched glass piece, "Golden Goal," by artist Jimmy O’Neil.
Fans will enjoy exploring renowned artist Radcliffe Bailey's 84-foot journey through the history of football at Atlanta historically black colleges. It's called “Conduits of Contact."
This light-box sculpture, “Executive Function (After Hillel)” from Michael Porten cites words from Jewish religious leader, Hillel the Elder.
When fans get past the amazing food, crazy technology and thought-provoking art, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is truly about the fan experience. The shallow layout of the stadium provides excellent vantage points from any seating concourse.
The 100-Yard Club unites fans with Atlanta Falcons' facts, tasty food and ample space to rally with other sports-loving fans during halftime.
Putting the fan experience top of mind is unprecedented luxury and VIP access to executive level suites and clubs. There is the Mercedes-Benz & Delta Sky360 Club plus AMG Lounge & SunTrust Club. Here is where fans find personalized attention, private dining and bars, and a sideline view of the game happening in real time.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium's dance card is quickly filling up. So far the multi-use facility will host the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship, Super Bowl 2019, NCAA Men’s Final Four in 2020 and a plethora of big name concerts, collegiate tournaments, guided tours and private events. The wait is over, and the time is now for a new era in Atlanta events and entertainment at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Chris Watkins is an Atlanta-based writer and photographer and also serves as the voice of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (@DiscoverAtlanta) on social media. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @christopherbw.