August 26, 2017 - ATLANTA- Aerials of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Falcons opening game against the Cardinals in their new stadium. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC)
Photo: Akili-Casundria Ramsess/For the AJC
Photo: Akili-Casundria Ramsess/For the AJC

7 things to know about Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Nearly every aspect of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a massive project birthed in early 2010, has commanded Atlanta’s attention for years.

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And with Mercedes-Benz Stadium now open, excited fans can now experience it for themselves.

Meanwhile, here are seven things you should know about the city’s new shiny, monstrous, can’t-miss-it stadium.

1. It host much more than just sports events. 

The building is often referred to as the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, and of course it’s home to Atlanta United.  

The stadium will also host the 2019 Super Bowl on Feb. 3, 2019.

But the venue’s door has also opened for Monster Jam, WWE, College Football playoffs, guided tours, private events and concerts. Garth Brooks performed the stadium’s first concert on Oct. 12, 2017Kenny Chesney, Beyonce and Jay-Z performed there in 2018.

2. The $1.5 billion stadium has some incredibly fancy technology involved.   

First to mind is the 14-acre retractable roof, which has eight moving panels that weigh about 500 tons each, delayed the stadium’s opening three times. The venue is also home to the largest video board in U.S. sports: a 63,800-square-foot, halo-shaped screen that measures 58 feet tall and 1,100 feet around.

3. Outside food and drink isn’t allowed (nor was it at the Georgia Dome), but the concession prices are affordable. 

August 26, 2017 - ATLANTA- Aerials of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Falcons opening game against the Cardinals in their new stadium. (Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special to the AJC)
Photo: Akili-Casundria Ramsess/For the AJC

The core concessions “fan-first menu,” which includes typical fan favorites like waffle fries, nachos or a basket of chicken tenders with fries, ranges from $2 to $6. Beyond that, specialty items — such as a brat burger ($10), burnt end nachos ($10) and a portobello mushroom burger ($6) — will also be available. Restaurant partners include Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, The Varsity and Sublime Doughnuts, along with multiple bars offering specialty cocktails (some for $12) and beer on tap. 

4. The NFL Clear Bag Policy has been adopted for all public and ticketed stadium events. 

Each guest is allowed to bring in a small clutch and one large, clear bag, such as a plastic tote that doesn’t exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. If someone has an item that isn’t allowed in the stadium, four bag valet locations will be available for a fee near the entry gates. See more about what you can and can’t take into the stadium.

5. It takes thousands of employees to make it all work. 

Stadium officials say they will employ 4,000 people at the facility. To be considered for a job, applicants must answer basic interview questions online and answer questions posed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Falcons coach Dan Quinn and others in a pre-recorded video. Available positions listed on the site at one point included housekeeping associate, event day host and part-time security officer.

6. Transit efficiency is a focus. 

Stadium officials want to make getting in and out as easy as possible. For instance, they’re working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to ease traffic flow by regulating traffic lights on Northside Drive. Also, fans will be able to purchase parking in advance from more than 12,000 spots through Parkmobile. And for folks who don’t want to drive or take MARTA, there will be designated pickup areas for ride-share app users. 

7. A new 13-acre park will double as a tailgate-friendly parking area.

Home Depot Backyard, a park that can also function as an organized, tailgate-friendly parking area for about 800 cars during large events, opened in 2018. Team owner and Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank envisioned the space as a place “where we celebrate, whether it be culture, whether it be music, whether it be food, whether it be arts.” It replaced a portion of the Dome, which was demolished in November 2017. (In addition, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority plans to build an 800-to-1,000 room hotel on the Dome site.)

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