Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the future home of the Atlanta Falcons football team stands under construction, at left, next to the team's current stadium, the Georgia Dome, Monday, May 16, 2016, in Atlanta. Falcons owner Arthur Blank says the new stadium is on s
David Goldman
May 16, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) As he awaits word on Atlanta's bid for to host a Super Bowl, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Monday construction of the team's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is back on schedule to open in June, 2017.

NFL owners will choose next week between Atlanta and other cities competing to host Super Bowls in 2019, 2020 and 2021. No city will be awarded more than one game. The vote will be taken at the NFL owners meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Blank said good weather has the construction back on schedule.

''I'm thrilled. We had a great winter, actually a mild winter, and a beautiful spring, so the weather has fully cooperated,'' Blank said before adding with a smile ''I'll take responsibility for that.''

Blank also owns the expansion MLS franchise Atlanta United FC, which will share the stadium. The soccer team's inaugural home summer schedule in 2017 and the Falcons' 2017 home preseason games had been jeopardized by construction delays.

Team president Rich McKay confirmed workers ''started the fall significantly behind.''

''Now all of a sudden our pace has really picked up,'' McKay said. ''We're feeling pretty comfortable with where we are. It's still a pretty complex structure with an eight-piece roof ... but I think that right now we're confident with the completion date.''

If Atlanta lands a Super Bowl, fans paying premium ticket prices will get a break on concessions.

The Falcons on Monday announced food and beverage pricing for all events at the new stadium will start with $2 each for soft drinks (including free refills), hot dogs, pretzels and popcorn.

Among items costing $3 will be peanuts, nachos and waffle fries.

A family of four will be able to purchase four soft drinks, four hot dogs and four orders of fries for $28.

The prices will remain for all events at the stadium, including the College Football Playoff championship game in January, 2018, the 2020 Final Four and the annual Southeastern Conference football championship game and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

McKay said the prices, approximately 50 percent less than what is currently charged at the Georgia Dome, will impact profits.

''I would just say to you it's an investment in the fan experience Arthur is more than willing to make,'' McKay said. ''In his mind it was the ability to say to the fan `Listen, I'm listening to what you're saying and I hear you loud and clear and we're going to try to change it.'''

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