When Arthur Blank set out to build a stadium in the heart of downtown Atlanta to be the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, he always intended it to be much more than that. He wanted the venue to not only be a vehicle for sports and entertainment, but a place to also serve fans and the community.
“Mercedes-Benz Stadium was always envisioned as much more than a place,” says Arthur Blank in his recent book Good Company. “We wanted to impact people inside our soaring walls, of course… but that wasn’t enough. We also wanted to impact those outside—our community, our city, our league, our culture.”
Currently, the stadium is being used just as Blank envisioned. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has had its doors open throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic to better serve the community of Atlanta.
In the summer of 2020, Mercedes-Benz Stadium fired up its kitchens to prepare meals for front line workers and to serve shelters and the community food bank.
In December, Mercedes-Benz Stadium partnered with Fulton County and State Farm Arena to be a host site for early voting during the Georgia Senate Run-Off election, serving more than 10,000 early voters.
Now, stadium operators have transformed the building’s concourses and clubs normally packed with thousands of fans into a socially distanced COVID-19 vaccination site.
“This is a time for our communities to unite together and do what’s right for our citizens. Mercedes-Benz Stadium offers the opportunity to socially distance, while servicing large numbers of people at once. We are honored to be a part of this solution and will do it as long as possible to serve our community,” said Steve Cannon, CEO, AMB Sports and Entertainment, parent company of the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and PGA Tour Superstore.
In partnership with the Fulton County Board of Health, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has provided Fulton County with the opportunity to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to nearly 10,000 people to date, specifically medical practitioners, front line workers, first responders and those over 65 years old. Fulton County and Mercedes-Benz Stadium are hoping to grow that number in the coming weeks.
Associates from AMB Sports and Entertainment, along with the larger Blank Family of Businesses, are assisting Fulton County administrators as volunteers, doing what they do best, making people feel welcome and offering assistance as needed.
Having the opportunity to volunteer has been impactful to many associates, especially Kelsey Gillespie.
“I personally have a lot of older family members and friends who are high risk for contracting COVID-19, so I feel that it is my civic duty to do my part and pitch in where I can,” said AMB Sports and Entertainment associate Kelsey Gillespie. “It’s really cool to be a part of a culture where everyone raises their hand to help – we’ve had quite a few associates participate so far.”
Now, the Blank Family of Businesses is working with local and state officials as well as several local health organizations to try and convert Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a mega vaccine site in order to serve Georgia citizens as quickly possible.