Fans lining up outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium to view Sunday’s World Cup final on the halo screen before this afternoon’s Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders FC match. (Photo: J. Scott Trubey / AJC)

United, World Cup fans gather for start of busy day in downtown Atlanta

Crowds started to gather downtown Sunday morning for several big events, starting with a special screening of today’s World Cup match before Atlanta United takes on the Seattle Sounders at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Traffic was moving smoothly before 10:30 a.m., and tailgaters took up their posts in the Gulch and in parking lots near the stadium. 

The World Cup match was set to start at 11 a.m. with the United match in the stadium to follow at 2 p.m. 

 The soccer crowd will blend with fans for several other big downtown events Sunday, including SEC Summerfest at Centennial Olympic Park and Atlanta’s first-ever Comic Con at the Georgia World Congress Center. 

Mark and Cindy McCloud of Moreland said they set up their tailgate in a parking lot near CNN Center about 9 a.m. hoping to avoid traffic. Decked out in their Atlanta United gear, they said they planned to catch the World Cup final between France and Croatia on the halo board at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The SEC Summerfest and Comic Con will only add to an electric vibe that comes with each United match, Mark McCloud said. 

In the World Cup final, McCloud said he’s supporting Croatia. 

“We are full-on soccer today: World Cup and Atlanta United,” he said. 

United fans milled about outside the stadium waiting for it to open, but many also strolled the halls of the Georgia World Congress Center where Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and the Lord of the Rings’ Sean Astin, among other stars, were scheduled to appear. 

At 1 p.m., the Southeastern Conference will play host to its SEC Summerfest, the kickoff for the conference’s annual football Media Days event.

» The outlook for Sunday’s traffic and weather

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