A Mercedes-Benz Stadium Blog by Mike Gomes, SVP Fan Experience
As we’ve rolled into the month of June I realize we’re now only about a year from opening Mercedes-Benz Stadium. I’ve been involved in plenty of multi-year projects in my career, but the year-out marker always gives me a dose of anticipation. We have a LOT going on and a LOT of details to address to ensure a world-class fan experience. Here’s a behind the scenes sampling of some of the program elements we’ve been designing in just the past two weeks.
Signage and Wayfinding – I’ve learned this is much more complex than one might think as there will be over 3000 signs in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Working with the designers and Stadium Operations we are having to place each and every sign and determine the content for each to ensure we can help people easily navigate the stadium, find their seat and other key landmarks, and ultimately exit the stadium as well. From there we need to design physical and digital maps that will further help fans explore and find anything they may be interested in.
Stadium Art Program – We have a significant effort in partnership with Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to identify local and world renowned artists who are developing custom pieces across a variety of artistic mediums. Look for a future blog post where we can share more about this exciting part of the stadium experience that will bring wonderful Atlanta-themed artistic works to all fans and guests who visit.
Halo Board Programming – The 360-degree Halo Board is one of the most iconic elements of the stadium and initial programming has already begun. Ensuring that all fans have fantastic views of the live action on the field while also layering in replays, relevant statistics and other scores, and social content is well underway. The sheer size of the Halo Board will create a rich, immersive experience for fans. We’re also working on digital animation concepts across not only our Halo Board and 100 foot tall LED wrapped Mega Column, but also our LED lighting inside and outside the building, audio systems, and other screens throughout the stadium that can elevate the game day experience to levels never imagined before. I’m excited to show you more later in the year.
Mobile Application – This week we kicked off the design and development of three new mobile apps that will serve our Falcons fans, our United fans and supporters, and any other guest of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Each of these apps will establish new benchmarks in the industry by being developed with the fans first in mind to create a relevant experience based on who’s using the app, where they may be located (whether that be at home or in the stadium), and what may be occurring at that given time. Stay tuned for more as we get closer to releasing the app(s) after testing the features and designs with fans.
Food and Beverage Fan Research – You’ve seen our Fan First menu pricing that finally addresses food and beverage affordability in a great way for fans. Our next step is to expand the menus beyond the core fan favorites to include specialty items, healthier options, and local restaurant offerings that can round out food and beverage options throughout the stadium. Before deciding on those menus, we will again involve Falcons and United fans to help.
The New Parking Experience – Slated for 2018, in the space where the Dome stands today, we are designing a great addition for game day and the surrounding community 365 days a year. For game-day, the space can be a great tailgate experience for fans right outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Beyond game day, the green space can be used for community events and activities. I’m not aware of anyone who has tried to develop such a multi-use area at the doorstep to a stadium, but it’s just one of the many things we are designing for fans and others within the heart of Atlanta.
There are plenty of other meetings and design sessions happening each and every day, and I’ll admit some are not nearly as exciting as the experiences above. But every detail counts in experience design and I’m excited to share these with you in the weeks and months ahead leading up to our grand opening in a year.