Atlanta United celebrates winning the MLS Cup over the Portland Timbers on  Dec. 8 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Photo: Curtis Compton /
Photo: Curtis Compton /

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta United receive awards

Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Atlanta United were among the big winners at the 12th annual Sports Business Awards event in New York on Wednesday night.

The downtown Atlanta stadium, which hosted Super Bowl LIII in February, was honored as Sports Facility of the Year. And Atlanta United, which won the MLS championship in December, was named Sports Team of the Year. 

“I think we have cemented ourselves as a great destination for the world’s biggest events,” Steve Cannon, CEO of Arthur Blank’s group of businesses, said in accepting the facility-of-the-year award at the SportsBusiness Journal event.

The prestigious awards, presented at a gala at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, recognize excellence in the sports business industry nationwide.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium won the facility-of-the-year award over four other nominees: Atlanta’s remade State Farm Arena, Los Angeles’ Banc of California (soccer) Stadium, Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum and New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Atlanta United claimed the team-of-the-year honor over fellow nominees the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Capitals and Portland Thorns (of the National Women’s Soccer League). 

“It is such a privilege to be alongside all the other finalists who have had remarkable years,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in accepting the award. “It really is distinguished company.” 

Among others honored at the event were MLS commissioner Don Garber as Sports Executive of the Year, the NBA as League of the Year, Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart as Athletic Director of the Year and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships as Sports Event of the Year. 

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