Stadium construction delays at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will impact three home games for MLS expansion club Atlanta United and keep the club at Bobby Dodd Stadium for longer than expected.
According to a statement, Atlanta United’s match against Orlando City that was supposed to open the new stadium on July 30 will now be played the club's makeshift home on Saturday, July 29, at 5 p.m. ET, and it will still be broadcast nationally on FOX. Two more matches–against Minnesota United on Aug. 13 and the LA Galaxy on Aug. 19–are being rescheduled for later, undetermined dates at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Instead of having the honors of opening the new venue, Atlanta United will give way to Arthur Blank's NFL team, the Super Bowl LI runner-up Falcons, whose preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 26 will mark the first public event there.
Potential, future soccer stadiums in America
“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," Steve Cannon, CEO of AMB Group, said in a statement. “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.”
The new $1.4 billion, 71,000-seat arena features a mechanized canopy system designed to reduce capacity for soccer, though small numbers at the gate haven't been an issue for Atlanta United at the Georgia Tech football stadium. The club has sold out both of its home games thus far, playing to a 1-1-0 record in Atlanta.