In what fans had hoped would be an exciting rematch of the 2016 NFC Championship Game, the Atlanta Falcons came out on top again Sunday night, beating the Green Bay Packers 34-23. As eagerly anticipated was the Sunday Night Football debut of the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the brand-new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC (MLS).
The state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium covers 2,000,000 square feet, and includes 71,000 total seats. It boasts the largest scoreboard in the world — three times as large as any in the NFL — a revolutionary 360 degree, 58 by 1100-foot LED “halo board” that circles the entire arena. There is also 100-foot mega-column LED display board.
What is most spectacular about the new stadium, however, is its 14-acre retractable roof, featuring 8 translucent petal-like panels that weigh roughly 500 tons each, and open and close like a camera lens. In front of a sellout crowd, the stadium’s groundbreaking roof opened for the first time Sunday night for the Falcons’ first open-air home game since 1991.
Also notable is the art collection at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. From original painted murals and photography, to mixed-media installations and monumental sculptures, the collection has been curated by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). At its centerpiece is a massive freestanding bird sculpture, the largest in the world, depicting a 41-foot falcon with a 70-foot wingspan perched atop a bronze football. Designed by Hungarian artist Gabor Miklos Szoke, the sculpture is as tall as a four-story building, and stands in front of the stadium like Daenerys’ dragons in “Game of Thrones” –an intimidating presence for opposing fans!
But all are welcome, and beyond Atlanta teams, the stadium has already been selected to host major upcoming sporting events including the College Football Championship in 2018, Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and the NCAA final four in 2020 — an opportunity for all fans to enjoy this groundbreaking new stadium.