As a proud Founding Member of Atlanta United FC, I have already been able to enjoy a number of exciting games at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. But it wasn’t until a behind-the-scenes tour that I really appreciated just how special and revolutionary this stadium is.
Keep reading to find out how you can participate in a tour.
After entering the stadium via the “Front Porch” and seeing the iconic giant metal Falcon, we were greeted by tour operations manager Tim Blackman.
Tim was a wealth of knowledge about the new stadium, and shared a dizzying number of stats. Here are just a few:
- The Mercedes-Benz stadium is 2 million square feet in size, versus the Georgia Dome which was 1.6 million square feet
- The stadium has 71,000 seats, which can increase up to 80,000 for events like concerts with field level seating.
- The halo board (the 360-degree video screen at the top of the stadium) is 1100 feet long and 6 stories tall. If you cut it in half and stood it up vertically, it would be the 24th tallest building in the world.
- The eight “petals” that make up the retractable roof move 200 feet forward and backward to open and close. The opening was inspired by the oculus at the Pantheon in Rome.
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first Platinum LEED certification in the world with a number of green features including 4,000 plus solar panels that can generate enough energy to run 9 Falcons games or 11 Atlanta United games; rainwater collection off the sloped sides of the building; and underground water collection vaults that help alleviate flooding in the neighborhood just west of the stadium.
And about that Falcon statue – it was designed by a Hungarian artist and is the largest metal bird sculpture in the world. Made up of 73,000 pounds of steel and bronze, the falcon has a 70 foot wingspan.
The tour continued with art. This piece was designed by Guatemalan artist Dario Escobar and features 1500 hand-stitched soccer balls. It’s one of the 200 or so pieces of art you’ll find around Mercedes-Benz stadium.
With all these features it’s easy to forget you’re in a stadium. But the connection to sports is at every level, particularly at the 100 Yard Club at the 300 level concourse. The concession and entertainment area mirrors the field, from the yard markers to the giant Falcons logo at the 50-yard line.
The tour included a peek at some of the most exclusive areas of the stadium – one of the “super suites,” an extra large suite with retractable glass windows that open up to the stadium; the 20,000 square foot Mercedes-Benz Club; and 10,000 square foot AMG Lounge, with windows that lets guests see the Falcons players as they walk from the locker room to the field. And the highlight – getting to go inside the state-of-the-art Falcons locker room.
We learned about the food too, and the “fan first” pricing. Putting people first and including everyone are among Arthur Blank’s core values, and these extend to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. You’ll find everything from $2 hotdogs and stadium staples to upscale dining and food from Atlanta’s top chefs.
About that Chick-fil-A: yes, there is a Chick-fil-A even though it is not open on Sundays, when lots of football games are held. If you’re craving a chicken sandwich on a Sunday, you can go to Kevin Gillespie’s Gamechanger on the 200 level concourse and order the “COS” – closed on Sunday. On Sundays the Chick-fil-A, which is located on the 100 level concourse, turns into Fries Up (and a completely separate menu) with a flip of the sign.
Don’t just read about my tour of the new stadium – experience it yourself! Tours of the Mercedes-Benz stadium will soon be open to everyone. Starting this Saturday, September 30th, tours will be offered seven days a week, several times daily.
Best of all, the tour ends on the field – visitors will get to kick soccer balls into the goal, run the length of the football field or try kicking a field goal.
Tours are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors, military and kids ages 3 to 12 (not inclusive of taxes and fees). Advance purchase is recommended. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://mercedesbenzstadium.com/stadium-tours/.
Our tour concluded with lunch at Molly B’s Cookhouse, a restaurant from Concentrics Restaurants named for Arthur Blank’s mother. And another exciting announcement – Molly B’s will be open for lunch seven days a week – yes, even on non game days. Click here to read more about the restaurant and experience.