Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Atlanta Falcons
Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s Super Sophomore Year
The 2018-2019 season marks the sophomore season for the Atlanta Falcons in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This marks the first time in more than 25 years that the team can play its home games in an open – air stadium, as the complex camera lens-like roof can now be open and closed. The Falcons continue to improve its Fans First Experience, with updates to the Fans First menu options and the addition of the Home Depot Backyard, a new tailgating area on the site of the former Georgia Dome. The Falcons, like all NFL teams, realize that attendance has dropped across the league, as more fans decide to watch the games at home or through other electronic media. Fans First is designed to answer every aspect of improving the fan experience at the stadium and give them a reason to attend the game in person.
Despite the frustration felt by Atlantans after the 2017 Super Bowl, they are assured of playing a major role, even if it is not on the field, in the 2019 Super Bowl. More than 31,000 locals have volunteered to work at events surrounding the championship game, which will take place in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019. For more information on the 2019 Super Bowl, go to www.atlsuperbowl53.com.
Food & Beverage 5
Mercedes-Benz Stadium continues to build on the food concessions area of the Fans First Experience.
Under the Fan First menu, a family of four can buy the basic food items for a total of less than $30. At a Falcons game a soda is $2 (with unlimited refills), water, hot dogs, pretzels and popcorn are also priced at $2 each. Pizza, nachos and waffle fries are priced at $3. The most expensive item on the Fan First menu is $5, which covers the cost of a 12-ounce domestic beer.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium has reduced the prices of several of their premium food items even further from their 2017 levels. These include the ATL Italian Sausage ($7), Shock Top Brats ($8), West Nest’s Free-Range Fried Chicken sandwich ($10), chili cheese fries ($9) and cheese fries ($5). A new locally produced craft beer, ATL Pale Ale, has also been added to the concession’s menu. It retails for $5 for a 12-ounce draft and $7 for a 20-ounce draft.
To lessen the hassle of going to the concession stand, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has implemented several time saving concepts. First the stadium offers 673 concession points including 24 bars and restaurants and over 1,200 beer taps. Second, all food and beverages are sold at whole dollar amount to eliminate the time needed to make change. Finally, all refills are taken care of at free self-serve locations which are located away from the concession stands to ease any congestion that might arise.
One of the first ways to create a great atmosphere at a game is to put a good product on the field. The 2016-2017 Falcons certainly did that, as they had one of the highest scoring offenses in NFL history and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. In the 2017-2018 season, the team made it to the second round of the NFL playoffs, losing a very close game to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Through free agency and the draft, they have addressed their few weaknesses.
When you enter the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you will immediately know you are in a stadium unlike any other. Unlike other retractable roof stadiums, the Mercedes-Benz roof opens and closes like the lens of a camera. While you are looking up, you will also see the 360-degree Halo HD video board. It features 63,000 square feet of screen and is more than 58 feet tall. The stadium seats 71,000 for football, or up to 83,000 for other types of events. There are 7,600 club seats and 193 suites.
Another major feature in the stadium is the feeling of being outdoors, even if the roof is closed. One entire end of the stadium is called the Window to the City and provides a stunning view of the Atlanta skyline. The support beams located on either side of the window do far more than provide support to the roof. They are wrapped with video screens 101 feet high and measure 71 feet in circumference and will provide an ever-changing set of graphics.
Finally, the Falcons realize that a great fan experience includes socializing with your friends. They have created several spaces within Mercedes-Benz Stadium to gather and chat, including the Sky Bridge in front of the Window on the City at the concourse level, a one –hundred foot-long bar on the 300 level and a fantasy football lounge. Even if you are socializing it will be impossible to miss a big play, as the stadium has more than 2,000 flat screen TV’s spread throughout the facility.
One aspect of Mercedes-Benz Stadium that was heavily criticized in its inaugural year was the sound system. This was especially evident during several of the facility’s first year concerts. The 3,250 speaker system was totally revamped during the off-season, providing a much-improved audio experience in 2018.
The neighborhood surrounding the Falcons home has changed a great deal since 2017, as the Georgia Dome next door was demolished to make way for the Falcons new tailgate area. The newly renovated State Farm Arena has reopened to rave reviews and is located just across the plaza from the stadium. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is just a few blocks from many of Atlanta’s top attractions, including Centennial Olympic Park, the CNN Center, the College Football Hall of Fame, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and Center for Civil and Human Rights. Hotels within walking distance include the Omni and Embassy Suites. Popular restaurants in the area include Taco Mac, McCormick and Schmick’s and STATS. .
The neighborhoods to the east and the west of Mercedes-Benz Stadium are in the midst of dramatic changes. The westside on the Rise Project is improving the quality of life for the citizens of the Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium. This is being done through programs to improve infrastructure, maintain affordable housing, create jobs through workforce development programs and investments in the neighborhood schools. The eastside of the neighborhood is preparing to undergo a multi-billion dollar development project, which will bring office buildings, restaurants, housing and green space to a former industrial area that has been empty for decades.
Falcon fans have stuck with the team through thick and thin for more than 50 years. For the most part, those years have been on the thin side. However, the last three seasons have been the most successful in Falcons history and saw the team make their second trip to the Super Bowl in 2017. In the South football, Atlantans go to “early church” then head downtown to enjoy an afternoon of tailgating and football. You will see all manner of red and black outfits and see plenty of signs supporting their favorite Falcon. The new Home Depot Backyard has fans arriving even earlier at games as the tailgate experience has been improved 100%. It features 11 acres of green space, complete with permanent restrooms, a performance stage and a playground for the kids. Fans can enter the stadium directly from the tailgate area.
Over the years, Atlanta sports fans have been given a bad rep as poor sports fans. If that was true… it is certainly changing, as anyone who has been to a Braves, Falcons or Atlanta United game can attest. In just its first season, Atlanta’s newest franchise broke the MLS record for attendance and drew more than 70,000 fans multiple times during the season.
The Fan First Experience begins before you leave your house for the game. The Falcons app provides up to the minute traffic conditions through the WAZE app. The MARTA Rapid Rail System has two stations located immediately adjacent to the stadium. Once you get to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons have created 40% more capacity for entry points into the stadium, including several new entrances from the new Home Depot Backyard tailgating area. The security and ticket entry points are outside the stadium, allowing you to enjoy the 61,000 square foot fan plaza after you clear security. The plaza features a steel falcon sculpture weighing 73,000 pounds with a 64-foot wingspan. This fan plaza is open before, during and after the games. Once inside the stadium you will find very open concourses with several unique gathering points at every level of the venue to meet up with your friends.
By the time you have headed to your seats, you will probably have already filled up on food from the Fans First Menu or one of Atlanta’s finest restaurants. The Falcons have thoughtfully provided you with 21-inch wide seats…. 2 inches wider than in most NFL stadiums.
When nature calls, the new stadium has 22% more bathroom fixtures for men, and 30% more fixtures for women. This has alleviated long lines, even at halftime.
The stadium has added five additional exits to relieve postgame congestion.
Return on Investment 4
Although the price of tickets has gone up significantly, the experience of attending a game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also increased in value. The Fans First initiative has brought the concession prices down to a fraction of what is found in most NFL venues. The cost of parking/public transportation is still lower than most of its sister stadiums and the many technological advances found throughout the facility are unique to the league and the sports world in general.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is also the home of Atlanta United, one of the newest members of the MLS. The soccer franchise has been an overwhelming success, both on the pitch and in the stands. In 2018 Atlanta United led the MLS in attendance for the second straight year, drawing more than 70,000 to an individual game on multiple occasions.
Highlights of the stadium’s rookie year included hosting the NCAA National Championship Football Game, the MLS All Star Game and concerts featuring Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. Annual events occurring at Mercedes-Benz Stadium include the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the Celebration Bowl, the SEC Championship Game and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first Platinum Level LEED certified stadium in the NFL. The stadium features more than 4,000 solar panels and has a 680,000-gallon cistern to collect rain water for later use.
The Fans First pricing program was recognized as the Sports Breakthrough of the Year by Sports Business Journal. Several professional and college stadiums are following Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s lead, by slashing food and beverage prices in 2018. Despite decreasing concession prices by an average of 50% the Falcons saw the average spending per person on concessions per game increase by 16% over the previous price structure in place at the Georgia Dome, providing a win/win situation for both the fans and the team.
In addition to the 2019 Super Bowl, future events scheduled for the venue include the 2020 Men’s Final Four Basketball Championships and a hosting role at some level in the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.
Did you enjoy this content? Help support our work by becoming a supporter of Stadium Journey on Patreon. Supporter levels begin at just $2/month.
OMNI Hotel at CNN Center
100 CNN Center
Atlanta, GA 30303
Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park
267 Marietta St NW
Atlanta, GA 30313
Do you want to add your listing on StadiumJourney.com? Here’s how!
Latest Crowd Reviews
When you enter Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you will immediately know you are in a venue unlike any other. Depending on the weather, you may be able to enjoy the moderate climate Atlanta enjoys in an outside environment, or during inclement weather the roof can be closed. Unlike other retractable roof stadiums, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof closes like the lens of a camera.