A Mercedes-Benz Stadium Blog by Mike Gomes, SVP Fan Experience
I recently returned from a vacation to Boston and I happened to have the opportunity to take my family to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Growing up in Rhode Island, I have been to Fenway several times, but this was my first visit since 2004. And it was the first visit for my kids. Fenway is the throwback of all throwback ballparks in that it is built right into the heart of Boston. People park in different locations across the city or take the T (Boston’s public rail transportation) and walk to the park from all angles. There is something cool and energetic about watching everyone in their Sox gear approach the park and the growing buzz as you get closer. And when Big Papi hit a home run during the game we attended, people both inside and outside of Fenway knew as the crowd erupted in delight.
While attending my second game of the trip with my boys, it struck me as to what it means to play your games in the heart of a city. The Falcons and Atlanta United will play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the heart of Atlanta. The Stadium will connect, unify and energize the city in many ways. With the open roof and the glass exterior, the building will pulse and light up in a way that everyone outside the stadium will know when we score a touchdown. When United puts one past the opposing keeper, all the screens and lights inside and outside the stadium will be choreographed in a way that people in their cars will see the eruption and shout “Goooooooaaaalll” while driving past the Stadium.
Similar to the Falcons games at the Georgia Dome, the energy within the city and around the Stadium will grow as kickoff approaches. Our fans will flow over from nearby bars, restaurants, and hotels; thousands of fans will travel from all around the city via MARTA and unite to walk from one of the three stations located less than 20 minutes from the Stadium; and others will tailgate with their friends and family as part of their pre-game rituals in one of the many nearby tailgate lots. The scene outside the Stadium on gameday will be filled with fans wearing their Falcons Red or Atlanta United Victory Red, the smells of barbeque, and the pulsing sounds of music coming from the tailgate lots, the new grass tailgate lot that will replace the Dome, and the 68,000 square foot Fan Plaza that will be a new gameday destination for fans.
As a man who grew up in the city, Arthur Blank has always been committed to building a world-class stadium in the heart of our city. Not only does it add to the vibrancy of the game day experience for each of our home clubs, but it has allowed Atlanta to attract such marquee events as the NCAA College Football National Championship (2018), Super Bowl (2019), and NCAA Men’s Final Four (2020). Those events and all of the other concert, sporting, and private events this city and Mercedes-Benz Stadium will attract will be great from an economic standpoint for sure. They will also bring renown and recognition to Atlanta for the flourishing city that it is.
We live in a great city and by building our new stadium in the heart of Atlanta, we will be able to feed off of and contribute to the excitement and energy of this city for years and years to come.