The debut of Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been delayed, as the construction timeline now calls for the facility to open in August.
United FC was expected to host the first major event at the stadium, a match on July 30 against Orlando City SC. However, with Mercedes-Benz Stadium now on pace to open on August 26 for an Atlanta Falcons’ preseason game, the club has had to adjust its schedule.
According to an announcement issued by United FC on Tuesday, the delay to the stadium’s opening is expected to affect three home matches. United FC’s previously-scheduled contest on July 30 will now take place on July 29 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Two additional home games–including one against Minnesota United on August 13 and another versus LA Galaxy on August 19–will now be rescheduled, and played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. New dates for those contests have not been announced.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium was at one point expected to open on March 1, only for its debut to be bumped back to June 1 and then July 30. On Tuesday, Steve Cannon, CEO of the AMB Group, provided an update on the ongoing construction process of the retractable-roof stadium. More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Cannon said the latest delay disclosed Tuesday was driven by “steel work that is taking longer than we anticipated” in the roof and an analysis of the construction timeline from this point forward.
He said AMB Group’s expectation is that the roof will be fully operable when the stadium opens.
But Cannon acknowledged that the eight roof petals have required some extra work to make them fit.
“You install a shim that closes a gap or addresses a gap,” he said. “So yes, there was a shimming process that took place, normal seal work on a project of this size and complexity. We have completed all of that work. … It went very well. And now we’re moving on.”
He said the roof is currently about three-fourths installed and that later Tuesday or Wednesday the plan is to move the petals to the open position and begin installing the “tips.”
The expansion Atlanta United FC has utilized Bobby Dodd Stadium–home to Georgia Tech football–as its home until Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens, and will now continue to do so through at least July 29. The team has been a major draw at the facility, as United FC has averaged 50,610 fans per-game through its first two home matches.
As noted on our sister site, Football Stadium Digest, NFL and NCCA football games slated for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in late August and early September remain on schedule.