Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.
Atlanta sports radio station 92.9 The Game, the Falcons’ official radio partner, aired the first live broadcast from Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Tuesday. Hosts John Fricke and Hugh Douglas did their four-hour morning show from a suite above what eventually will be the 50-yard line, interviewing a parade of team and stadium executives.
Stadium general manager Scott Jenkins reiterated during the broadcast that the stadium, which has experienced construction delays from its original target of a March 2017 opening, will open next summer.
Jenkins offered this timeline: “We’re targeting a June completion for the stadium. We’ll be loading equipment and furniture and training people in July. And we’ll be rocking and rolling in August with events.”
Another guest, chief technology officer Jared Miller, mentioned that he recently toured the Daktronics factory in South Dakota where the stadium’s massive halo-shaped video board – 58 feet tall and 1,100 feet around — is being built “as we speak.”
“I can tell you it’s going to be hundreds of truck loads (to transport it to Atlanta),” Miller said. “They have taken over the entire production floor of that factory just to produce this halo board.”
Tim Zulawski, senior vice president and chief commercial officer, noted the desire to play as many games as possible with the stadium’s retractable roof open – “hopefully as much as 60-70 percent of Falcons games and the majority of Atlanta United games,” he said.
Douglas suggested to Mike Gomes, senior VP of fan experience, that the unique exterior of the new Falcons home bears a resemblance to a bird’s nest.
“When I first was attracted to the project, when I joined a couple of seasons ago, it looked like it landed from out of space to me,” Gomes replied. “So whether you think it’s a bird’s nest or whether you think it’s some space ship, it clearly has such a unique architectural design that it serves to be something different than a lot of the generic stadiums we see built.”
Leadoff appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
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