Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) will open in late August with two NFL pre-season games based on revised completion timelines presented by the construction team and announced today by Steve Cannon, chief executive officer of AMB Group, LLC. Three Atlanta United home matches have been impacted by the new schedule.
The Atlanta Falcons will open the 2017 home schedule with preseason games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium vs. Arizona on Saturday, August 26, and vs. Jacksonville on Thursday, August 31. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. eastern kickoffs. The August 26 game will be the first public event in MBS. The NFL regular season schedule has not been announced, but all Falcons home games will be scheduled for MBS.
Atlanta United's match previously scheduled for July 30 at MBS will now be played at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, July 29, at 5 p.m. eastern, and be broadcast nationally on FOX. The team has played each of its home games this season at Bobby Dodd Stadium before sold-out crowds. Atlanta United's scheduled matches with Minnesota United on August 13 and the LA Galaxy on August 19 are being rescheduled for later dates at MBS. The dates have not been determined.
No changes have been made to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic games scheduled for MBS over Labor Day weekend or Atlanta United's scheduled home match at MBS with FC Dallas on September 9.
Cannon also addressed rumors and speculation about the first-of-its-kind retractable roof and the new timeline for opening events:
"No concerns about the operability of the roof have ever been expressed to us by the design or construction teams. It is a complex, original design that is going to be spectacular and operate as designed. That's the bottom line.
"The reason for a revised timeline is quite simple: normal surveying and analysis of the roof structure, as well as steelwork in the roof, have both taken longer than planned. Those two things have had a cascading effect on overall workflows related to the roof and that is the reason for the new timeline.
"We've worked very hard over the last few weeks to find any possible avenue to meet the July 30 timeline, but have not been able to do so. Our construction partners have now worked through re-sequencing the remaining work and are very confident we'll be ready for live events beginning with the Falcons game on August 26."
Tommy Holder, CEO of Holder Construction and Managing Member of the HHRM, Joint Venture echoed Cannon's comments.
"Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a spectacular building the people of Atlanta are going to be very proud of for a long time. Any one-of-a-kind original project like this inevitably sees schedule adjustments along the way. The complexity of the design has taken longer than planned for a variety of reasons, but there is not a concern about the roof operating as designed once construction is complete. Work continues around the clock to deliver the building as soon as possible and great progress is being made every day."
Decommissioning of the Georgia Dome has been put on hold until certainty of receiving a certificate of occupancy that will allow events in MBS is achieved. No more events are planned or are expected in the Georgia Dome. Holding off the decommissioning process is an extraordinarily conservative approach being taken because there is nothing to gain in the overall timeline by expediting demolition. The decommissioning process is expected to resume in late June and a future date for demolition has not been determined.