LEADOFF: Falcons, Atlanta United change turf for stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium sits next to the Georgia Dome. Aerial photo was taken last Friday. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Mercedes-Benz Stadium sits next to the Georgia Dome. Aerial photo was taken last Friday. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

The Falcons and Atlanta United will play on a FieldTurf surface when Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens.

FieldTurf announced Tuesday that the company will provide its “Revolution 360” artificial turf for the new stadium.

The announcement signals a change of mind in the choice of turf provider for the downtown Atlanta stadium. A different turf company, GreenFields USA, was announced as the supplier in February 2016.

Atlanta United President Darren Eales said in a news release Tuesday that FieldTurf “is known to provide top quality surfaces for soccer facilities, including the Portland Timbers’ Providence Park, which is considered the best turf surface in MLS.”

Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seahawks and MLS’s defending champion Sounders, also uses the Revolution 360 turf, as does New England’s Gillette Stadium.

Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay noted in the news release that the Falcons have partnered with FieldTurf for over 14 years.

Falcons officials initially hoped to have natural grass in their retractable-roof stadium, but decided in 2013 that the venue instead would have artificial turf because the field wouldn’t get enough sun light for grass.

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Nice gesture as the Mets introduced opening-day rosters at Citi Field on Monday: The public address announcer said "welcome back to New York!" when introducing Braves pitchers (and former Mets) R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon.

In introducing Colon, the announcer said: “Thank you for three wonderfully enjoyable seasons” with the Mets. Colon got a standing ovation from the crowd.

He will be the Braves' starting pitcher for the second game of the series tonight.

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