Mercedes-Benz Stadium: Was it worth the hype?
April 25, 2018
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium was an architectural and economical feat for the city of Atlanta when it opened on August 26, 2017. The new arena for the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, and multiple huge sporting events (2018 CFP Championship Game, 2019 Super Bowl, 2020 Final Four, and possibly the 2026 World Cup) replaced the legendary Georgia Dome, which had been a staple of Atlanta culture since 1992.
The new stadium was supposed to be a major improvement and rival the nationally known AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, in terms of its innovative style and incredible size. The stadium in total took 39 months to build, cost 1.5 billion dollars, is 30 stories tall, and features a video board that is 58 feet tall and 1,100 feet long. In comparison, the Georgia Dome took 28 months to build, cost 214 million dollars, and was 27 stories tall.
The goal of this new stadium—other than to be an incredible new venue to watch sporting events–was to draw more attention to the city of Atlanta. The amount of attraction to the city has now increased, and the stadium will continue to bring more money to the city and the state.
However, even with all of the awe-inspiring visual advancements and fancy fan-experience improvements, there have been a plethora of issues with the new arena. For starters, the stadium cost $700 million in citizen’s tax dollars, a record for any NFL building ever. Also, there have been complaints ever since its opening about entering and exiting, with some people reporting having waited multiple hours to get in or out of the stadium. Fans have compared the experience to being like “sardines packed together with no order”. The sound system throughout the stadium has also been reportedly low quality at times.
Georgia World Congress Center Authority Board Members have expressed concerns about these problems with Atlanta Falcons officials. GWCCA board member Phil Gingrey told those officials at a February meeting, “You absolutely need to do a better job, because your reputation at a national level gets tainted. And it’s pretty hard to back that out as we go forward trying to attract these (events) to our great city of Atlanta.”
The issues have been addressed by the city and stadium officials, with multiple new exits and entrances having been added and fixes to the sound system made. Still, it makes some wonder whether or not this stadium was the incredible technological and architectural achievement that it was advertised to be. The Georgia Dome was certainly beloved by the city and its citizens, and its destruction on November 20th, 2017 marked the end of an era.
Milton students have had mixed responses to their experiences at Mercedes-Benz. Sophomore Adam McDannel described the new stadium as being “a part of the game-watching experience,” and went on to say “that a lot more activities were added to make the fan experience better.” Others, like sophomore Connor Hajj, have expressed some concerns, especially with “long waits to get food and drinks,” though Hajj did admit that the stadium is “very modernized.”
Regardless, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a must-see attraction for anybody living in the city, and only by going there can you form your own opinion on whether or not it is worth the hype.