We have a Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening date, which will launch not with an Atlanta Falcons NFL game but with an Atlanta United MLS match on July 30, according to reps from the owner of both teams, Arthur M. Blank Group.
The status of expansion Atlanta United has been in flux for several months, after it was announced that the opening date for Mercedes-Benz Stadium would slip from March 1 to summer 2017. The team will play the beginning of the 2017 season at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium, then switch to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We won’t know exactly how many matches will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium until the MLS schedule is released.
Still, the announcement of the July 30 opening is good news for both the Arthur M. Blank Group and Atlanta sports fans. It means the stadium is expected to be good to go for the 2017 NFL season, and it also means a good number of home matches for Atlanta United. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Steven Cannon, CEO of the Arthur M. Blank Group, said pace of construction has increased following the erection of the final major steel truss for the fixed portion of the roof. He said that progress is being made on the construction of the retractable portion of the roof and lower bowls of the stadium. Other areas of the stadium (guest suites and locker rooms, as examples) are being completed.
Cannon expects that they will be able to take over the stadium possibly as early as late April to begin preparing it for events. Cannon said there will be a series of small events for varying audiences before and after the Atlanta United opener for tours of the stadium. He wasn’t ready to announce any more details about those events.