Hello, fellow fans. As Mick Jagger famously sings, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mike Gomes and I’m your advocate. My job is to serve you – the fans and supporters. I am the SVP, Fan Experience for AMB Sports + Entertainment (AMBSE), the entity that manages Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Falcons, and Atlanta United. This type of position is rare in sports and in most companies. The world is rapidly changing and if you don’t intently focus on and obsess over your fans, supporters, guests, and customers, you will find yourself without them. From my point of view, every stadium, hospital, university, airport, shopping mall, cruise ship or any other large place that serves thousands of people at one time needs to be purposeful in its design and operation of a great customer experience. So where does one get training in this sort of thing? Disney.
Walt Disney himself is largely credited as the first experience designer when he opened Disneyland in the 1950’s. He took the concept of an amusement park and transformed it into a theme park where every detail of the experience transports guests into fictional lands and fantastical attractions. His customers were called guests and the workers were cast members who played a role in the show: delivering world-class service to help ensure Disneyland would be The Happiest Place on Earth. Well, Disney is where I got my training in the guest experience that we plan to bring to you.
I worked in Disney Parks for 21 years on some really cool products, services, and experiences primarily at Walt Disney World Resort, but also some of Disney’s other parks and cruise ships around the globe. So why would I leave Disney which, arguably, may have been one of the coolest jobs on the planet? I left for an opportunity to be part of the development of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I wasn’t looking to leave Disney but when I saw the initial renderings of the stadium I was blown away. And the fact that it was also going to be the home of the Atlanta Falcons and home to a new soccer club that was going to be started from scratch, I realized I would regret it forever if I didn’t take the opportunity to help achieve Arthur Blank’s bold vision for making this stadium the heart of Atlanta and the world’s ultimate sports and entertainment destination.
It was a hard decision for me and my family to leave Orlando and Disney, but one I am so glad I made. I moved to Atlanta in September 2014 and my family followed a few months later. I met my wife Amy at Syracuse University and have been married for 22 years. We have three kids who are all about to flip ages to 17 (girl), 15 (boy), and 10 (boy). We’re starting to look at colleges (gulp) for my oldest and I also get to coach little league and travel ball baseball with my youngest. All of us really like Atlanta and we live just outside the perimeter in the Dunwoody/Sandy Springs area. I had no idea how cool this metropolitan area is and I’m still exploring new things all the time. In fact, I just had lunch at The Varsity for the first time (“Whaddya have?!”) and loved my chili dog and onion rings. One thing I have really come to enjoy is the concert scene and all of the awesome venues around town. I’ll bet I saw 15+ live shows last year and I’m on pace for about the same again this year. I like to say it keeps me young. But it also allows me to enjoy great experiences that create wonderful memories for my wife and me and any friends who attend with us. That’s what life is about…right?
We want you to have those same wonderful types of experiences attending a Falcons game or an Atlanta United match or a concert or any big time event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We are creating something special and I want every single interaction you have with the stadium or your favorite team to be great. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium team and I are obsessing over every last detail to try to make the experience frictionless at worst and flat out awesome at best. I can’t believe how cool this stadium is going to be and how wonderful it’s going to be to hoist a Lombardi trophy and an MLS Cup with our fans and supporters.
I’m your advocate, working on your behalf and I want you to love the stadium as much as I do.